• WBTT hosts Booker Middle School DIVAS for end-of-year celebration

    Members of The Links, Incorporated, Services to Youth Facet, include (from l-r) Barabara Sturdivant, Linda Thornton, Marilyn Thompson, Dr. LaShawn Frost, Sheila Baynes and LaTonya Campbell

    SARASOTA, FL – In May, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe hosted students in grades 6-8 from the Booker Middle School DIVAS (Determined Individuals Visualizing Academic Success) program, parents and school personnel – including the principal, Dr. LaShawn Frost – for the DIVAS end-of-year celebration. Also in attendance were members of the Bradenton/Sarasota (FL) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, an African-American women’s association whose members mentor girls from the DIVAS group. The gathering of approximately 90 enjoyed a tour of the theater, a presentation by WBTT founder and artistic director Nate Jacobs, musical numbers by WBTT artists Ariel Blue, Michael Mendez and Dee Selmore, and dinner together. The evening culminated with the presentation of certificates to the students, recognizing them for their participation in the program.

    The goal of the DIVAS is to aid members in becoming well-rounded young women through the development of positive social skills, etiquette, and academic excellence. The program provides services that assist participants to become academically and socially successful as well as positive role models – such as members of The Links – on campus and in our community.

    The Links, Incorporated, founded in 1946, is a women’s volunteer service organization committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the cultural and economic survival of African-Americans and other persons of African-American ancestry. A premier international service organization with more than 12,000 members in 274 chapters located in 42 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, The Links has a legacy of friends providing service that changes lives. The membership of the local chapter numbers 42; chapter president is Doris Johnson.

    “We were thrilled to welcome the DIVAS and The Links to our theater,” said Julie Leach, executive director of WBTT. “Part of our mission is to carry on activities that build the self-esteem of African-American youth. To host a gathering of young people aiming for a better future and their mentors – many of whom support WBTT, too – aligns perfectly with our mission. It was a lovely evening – everyone really enjoyed themselves!”

    For more about WBTT, go to westcoastblacktheatre.org or call (941) 366-1505.