South Side Achiever

Xi Chapter of Lambda Kappa Mu strives to serve the community

“It is well-organized and supports the community. It lets people get involved with the community and stay involved,” said Ruby Beal about Lambda Kappa Mu Sorority, a 68-year-old “sister”, who has been involved for 30 years.

Lambda Kappa Mu Sorority is a national organization for business and professional women, which was started in 1940. Out of nearly 30 chapters, Xi Chapter of the sorority in Syracuse was founded in 1955. It provides the community with individual and collaborative supports, with four ideals in mind — “sisterhood, achievement, scholarship and service.”

LKM members Ruby Beal, Eunice Williams and Dell Ford Jordan stand with Dr. Wynetta Devore, holding an award she received from YWCA and their diversity awareness program on April 25, at Onondaga County Community College. | Provided Photo

Currently, there are around 30 active members, occupying professions varying from nurses to teachers. They meet up once a month to plan activities and events.

Xi Chapter has a strong collaboration with local organizations, such as Onondaga County Women’s Health Outreach and Central New York HIV Care Network.

Beal, a retired social studies teacher of Syracuse school district, said one of her fondest community service actives was Cropwalk for Hunger. The sorority collaborated with Church World Service to raise funds to fight hunger. Beal mentioned that she has been participating in the walk since 1985.

“It is a way of giving back to the community, and giving back to the community is how I was raised and what my mum always told me,” Beal said.

Young people are a big focus of the organization. One of the most successful projects that the chapter host is the Youth Achievement Awards Program. Each June, 10 middle and high school students, who have made outstanding achievements in the areas of the arts, science and community service are chosen. Hundreds of students have benefited from the program since 1969. The organization also provides rewards, like Eunice Randle Continuing Education Award and stipends to support females to continue their education. It also provides numerous workshops to the youth, and this year’s theme was “Youth Leading the Way.”

4. Kopelle Kiera Cesar with her LKM Mentor Paula Jones at Paul Robeson Cabaret and Conversation on April 20. | Photo provided

They also provide scholarships. Applicants must write personal statements on their goals and academic achievements. The process is not merely based on their grades but how the organization can help them achieve their goals.

“We try to encourage young people to do well and continue doing well,” said Evelyn Williams, the former national president of the sorority who has been in the group since 1973. “We try to help people who need help.”

The group also reaches out to the minority groups and tries to see what their needs are. For example, one focus is to improve living conditions and assist with career opportunities.

The group is still growing and accepting new members each year. Last year, four members joined the board.

Williams mentioned that the organization gave her spiritual support when she newly moved to Syracuse from New Jersey in 1971, and it is how she got involved in the organization. She feels her experience with the sorority helps her learn how to socialize and work with a large variety of groups.

“I love to be in the community,” Williams said, “and help people.”


– By Ruth Li, Graduate student at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications

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