The Crowned Pearls of Wellington is a new community service organization that has stepped up to the plate over the past year to help a variety of local causes.
The Crowned Pearls is an official interest group of the international organization Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., the nation’s oldest sorority for African American women.
Wellington resident Jenny Hassell, now retired from her position as director of employer and labor relations in North America for Johnson & Johnson, is the president of the Crowned Pearls, which aims to become a fully recognized chapter within the Alpha Kappa Alpha organization.
Founded on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 15, 1908, the sorority is a worldwide sisterhood of approximately 300,000 college-educated women operating more than 1,000 chapters in communities across the United States and around the world.
“Our mission is to cultivate and encourage high scholastic and ethical standards, promote unity and friendship among college women, to study and help alleviate problems concerning girls and women to improve social stature, to maintain a progressive interest in college life and to be of service to all mankind,” Hassell explained. “We are committed to helping each other and positively impacting the communities in which we live and work.”
In January 2019, Hassell and seven other Alpha Kappa Alpha women living in the community founded the Crowned Pearls as a social club.
“Over time, we succeeded in significantly growing our membership. Members bring expertise from the fields of medicine, law, business, education, social work and more,” Hassell said. “All are talented women who commit their time and effort in support of those less fortunate and all work tirelessly to uplift those in need through volunteering. At the time of the social club’s inception, we were individually providing community service to help those in need.”
As operations expanded, so did the sphere of focus for the Crowned Pearls.
“Once the social club was formed, we became a community service partner with the Village of Wellington,” said Hassell, who spends much of her free time doing social work. “We have provided volunteer services on food drives, holiday toy collections and back to school backpack events, and we have served as mentors to students participating in the Village of Wellington’s Students Working to Achieve Greatness (SWAG) program.”
The goal of establishing an official Alpha Kappa Alpha chapter takes time and effort.
“As an initial step, members of Alpha Kappa Alpha must first demonstrate the capability to organize and operate as an interest group of the sorority,” Hassell said. “We must also commit to supporting the international organization’s program targets, which includes supporting historically black colleges and universities, women’s health and wellness initiatives, building economic legacies, the arts, as well as global impact initiatives.”
After developing a deep understanding of the approval process for pursuing the establishment of a chapter based in Wellington, the social club was ready to further its goal.
“We requested approval in December 2019 to form an official interest group under the umbrella of the international organization, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.,” Hassell explained. “We also asked to continue the use of the name Crowned Pearls of Wellington.”
Approval was granted to begin operating as an official interest group in February 2020 and to continue the work of providing volunteer support to Wellington and the surrounding communities. Its community service target areas are Wellington, Royal Palm Beach, The Acreage, Loxahatchee Groves, suburban Lake Worth and Westlake. “We must continue to demonstrate our capabilities to the international organization over time and then be evaluated to determine if we have met the standards for chapter operations approval,” Hassell said.
The Crowned Pearls of Wellington continues to serve as a community partner by volunteering time to causes, which helps to improve the lives of others.
“Today, we partner with the Village of Wellington and the Wellington Rotary Club on the Feeding South Florida initiative, and we are proud to have been a contributing partner to the Grab-N-Go Pantry at local hospitals to support the healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hassell said. “We have also committed a significant amount of time to the SWAG program mentoring students and supporting other local community initiatives.”
The group has several more community service initiatives planned for the coming months throughout its target areas. “We are committed to bringing our talents and efforts to strengthen the community and in helping to improve the lives of others,” Hassell said.
For more information about the Crowned Pearls of Wellington, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Crowned Pearls of Wellington, P.O. Box 211553, Royal Palm Beach, FL 33421.