Tiwana Rayburn, Girl Responsible
First Chapter in Louisiana
Picture this… February, 2020. A kindergarten teacher in Baton Rouge, LA is longing for “sisterhood”. She belongs to a sorority from college but wants more. She wants true friendship and the opportunity to serve her community. She prays; she searches the web for sororities; she prays; she thinks of starting her own sorority; she prays; and something keeps drawing her back to the Sigma Phi Gamma website, including the blog and the history. In March, she sends out a web inquiry, admitting what she is looking for. Beth Beckham, International Organizer, leads the team to contact her, thinking she would join Omicron Epsilon, our virtual chapter. Her next email to us says that she has 15 friends who are also interested in Sigma Phi Gamma and she would like to start a chapter in Louisiana. Knocked our socks off!! Tiwana Rayburn and her 15 friends pledged in May, 2020 via zoom. Kappa Province reached out to them with support and friendship, and prepared them for sisterhood. In June, again by zoom, a new chapter was installed, 16 were initiated into Omicron Eta and officers installed! Tiwana’s journey for sisterhood had begun!
Now Tiwana has a full life, with a husband, 6 children, 5 grandchildren, plus teaches kindergarten during the pandemic. She loves reading (yes, she joined our Bookends) and writing. In fact she has an inspirational book that will be published next year. She enjoys gardening with her children and grandchildren, and her church gives her daily guidance. With all of this, Tiwana wanted sisterhood. She was amazed at the outpouring of support, friendship and love as she led her friends on the SPG journey. Three of her group also belonged to the other sorority, two were her daughters and others were her co-workers. As she shared the SPG story, she told them to visit the website, and her enthusiasm was contagious! And now, as a chapter she encourages them by coaching them with words and “practice sessions” so they are prepared to share SPG with others. She also encourages each of them to return to college, complete their degree or strive for more!
Service to community is so important to Tiwana. This summer her chapter made “COVID packages”, including face shields and masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, Lysol and more, for teachers and students. Teacher bags also included a teacher’s journal, a book for teachers and EXPO markers. Her “social media savvy sisters” talked about the packages and SPG on Facebook and got such a response that they did a drawing with 13 teachers and 13 students receiving the bags. The excitement was so great that 7 of the teacher recipients became pledges and were initiated via zoom in October. They also made backpacks for many students, loading them with necessary school supplies. They are now planning their next service project.
At this time, Omicron Eta meets via zoom for meetings. As Louisiana moves into Phase 3, they plan to meet the 3rd Sunday of each month at a restaurant for brunch and time to be together physically, with masks and social distance of course. They are surviving a summer of hurricane after hurricane after hurricane. But this group of women have sisterhood. They feel our love and support for them. They are succeeding by working as a team. Some are even planning to attend Convention 2021 in Portland! Tiwana Rayburn and Omicron Eta, welcome to Sigma Phi Gamma! Can’t wait to meet you all in person!