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    Dillard Zetas WalkAmerica to save babies

    On Saturday, April 17 Dillard University’s Alpha Beta chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. along with students, participated in the March of Dimes WalkAmerica 2005.

    The walk took place on the New Orleans Lakefront and the three-mile event is a “Thank You Party” to the March of Dimes teams and corporate sponsors, who raise funds throughout the year, said May Wen, the WalkAmerica coordinator for the New Orleans chapter of March of Dimes.

    “Everyone has been affected by the March of Dimes, one way or another”, said Wen.

    The funds raised go toward awareness programs and research in the fight against premature birth and birth defects. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority has been in partnership with the March of Dimes since 1971. The partnership is in conjunction with the Zeta’s national project, Z Hope. The walk held over 1600 participants and the citywide chapters of Zeta won third place for the most walkers for the event.

    Kaletta Moody, a junior political science major and first-time WalkAmerica participant expressed admiration for the event and the March of Dimes.

    “I was a little hesitant at first, but when I got some info on what the organization was about and saw all the people, I really had a lot of fun. The booths with information on vitamins and healthy lifestyle options were very good and the massage booth was cool- although I didn’t get one,” Moody said.

    This year’s event raised $9,000, the day of the walk alone, for the New Orleans chapter of March of Dimes and over $150,000 has been raised this year. Dillard’s Zetas raised over $400 in two weeks with help from the Dillard family. “It turned out really well. This was the most we ever raised in that span of time”, said Debrina Madison, a member of Zeta Phi Beta -Alpha Beta chapter.

    The mission of the March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects and infant mortality. They carry out this mission through research, community services, education and advocacy to save babies lives. Research shows that each year more than 460,000 babies are born early, that is one in eight and for African-Americans, the number is even higher, at one in six.

    Dillard students Ronnie King and D’Anna Holmes came out with their son Mason, to support the March of Dimes. Mason was born prematurely last year and the Dillard family held a blood drive to aid in his growth and recovery. “Mason’s spirit and zest motivated me to want to walk for children like him,” Moody said.

    Zeta combats the premature birth epidemic through its “Stork’s Nest” program. The program provides clothing and nursery items for pregnant women who use community health services as well as educational opportunities to help them make informed decisions relating to parenting, nutrition and health.

    “The Alpha Beta chapter of Zeta Phi Beta wishes to thank everyone for their support and genuine interest in this cause and for making the walk an overall success,” said Madison.

    The March of Dimes -New Orleans chapter encourages students to contact the chapters in their areas and volunteer.

    “Tell people about the organization and fund raise- we would love for the clubs and student groups at Dillard to form teams, raise funds and get the word out,” Wen said. “The fall semester is really inactive and that’s when we need you.”

    For more information about the March of Dimes and ways to help in the fight to save babies, check out or contact the chapter in your area.

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    Dillard Zetas WalkAmerica to save babies