Members of the Xi Iota chapter of the Sigma Gamma Rho sorority partnered with the March of Dimes organization and fellow students to bring donation items to the patients and families of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Flagstaff Medical Center (FMC).
The Xi Iota Chapter of the Sigma Gamma Rho sorority was chartered at NAU in April 1995. Since then, they’ve hosted many fundraisers to provide support to different groups of people in need in the Flagstaff area.
Junior Maylee Acosta, a member of the sorority, shared some of the mission statements of the sorority and their longstanding relationship with the March of Dimes organization.
“Our mission is ‘Greater Service, Greater Progress,’ therefore Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. is continuously expanding partnerships with organizations that serve the community,” Acosta said. “March of Dimes has been a longtime friend and ally in helping our sisters achieve Sigma’s goal of positively impacting the lives of premature babies.”
March of Dimes is a nonprofit that was founded by former President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938. According to its website, the organization started off as research for polio and funded the vaccine for the disease. It has since developed into an operation that assists and educates in order to provide support to all babies and mothers throughout pregnancy. On top of this, they advocate and provide resource support for those families that need to have a child stay in the NICU.
Tutu’s, Books and Babies was a two-day event that encouraged the student body to lend a helping hand. On March 20, students gathered at Mountain View Hall to collect items and create tutus for children in NICU. Then on March 22, members of the sorority went to FMC to drop off donations that included books, tutus and care packages.
Junior and President of the sorority Angel Marshall shared what inspired her organization to plan a fundraiser for NICU babies.
“For the Xi Iota Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., we were inspired by how many of our members knew a friend or family member who were a premature baby or had a premie and the uncertainty of knowing if that loved one would make it out of the NICU and be able to grow up,” Marshall said. “Our chapter and our graduate chapter wanted to give supplies that would help the families in the NICU and show that they are not forgotten during this time by providing a form of support.”
Although this sorority has done fundraising for the NICU before, COVID conditions have made it less of an interactive experience this time around. The sorority members were unable to interact and give the donations to the NICU families personally, but the aid and support was still beneficial to the recipients regardless.
Tracye Moore, who is a former member of Kappa Sigma Sigma and the department chair for Dental Hygiene at NAU, helped the Sigma Gamma Rho sorority plan the event and talked about the future of the sorority’s involvement with FMC.
“We plan to donate to FMC on an annual basis because we care about our community and this is one of the many ways we can connect NAU to the community, and contribute to the population’s needs,” Moore said.
Having a child in the NICU can be a stressful experience regardless of what’s happening in the world at the time. However, COVID-19 has added an extra stress to many of the families that find themselves in the NICU this past year. The members of the Xi Iota Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority on campus have helped aid families during these difficult times and have made the experience of having a child in the NICU just a little bit easier for many of them.