Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority is no stranger to giving back to the community.  The Zeta Omega Sigma chapter provides outreach services to Baltimore County youth from their office located in Randallstown, Md.  

Some of the outreach programs include: Operation Big Book Bag, Project Cradle Care, Wee Savers and the USA Swim Program.  These programs provide school supplies to children, parenting and financial advice as well as swimming lessons. The sorority also hosts a school supply drive twice a year.

Eunique Gray, basileus of the Zeta Omega Sigma chapter, told the AFRO, “The program that stands out the most is the USA Swim Program because no other sorority is connected with a unique program like the USA Swim Program.”

The USA Swim is a national partnership between Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Rho Sorority that started in 2012. Sigma Gamma Rho is the only Greek-letter organization in partnership with this Olympic body.  The Zeta Omega Sigma chapter in Baltimore County hosted its first in-water clinic in 2016 at the Y Aquatic Center in Randallstown, Md., where staff members taught kids how to enjoy the water safely.  

“The primary goal of the partnership is to increase swim participation within the Black community and decrease drowning rates,” said Clarrissa Taylor-Jackson, chairwoman of the USA Swim Program.  Overall, 1,959 swim lessons have been completed and 480,551 laps swum.

The chapter supplies most of the swim gear, such as life jackets and goggles to navigate safely through the water as well as find participants and great locations in Baltimore County.  Children as young as six are eligible.  

“African-American kids drown at 5.5 times the rate of other kids and roughly 70 percent of African Americans lack basic swimming skills,” said Taylor-Jackson. “Even I learned how to swim when I was 26, not because I didn’t have access to a pool or the beach but because I was scared.”  

The sorority will host the next swim event in the next two months.

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority was founded Nov. 12, 1922, at Butler University in Indianapolis, Ind.  The Zeta Omega Sigma chapter was chartered in March of 1988 and has been in Baltimore County for 27 years.  

“We currently have 31 royal African-American members in our chapter and we are expanding and growing,” said Gray.

While the sorority continues to offer help to their community, they strive to address concerns that negatively affect Baltimore County’s youth, such as drugs, teen violence, abuse, low self-esteem, suicide and teen pregnancy.