Oklahoma City Chapter of Chums, Incorporated
Dr. Karen M. Clark invited nine friends to come together to organize a Chums chapter In May 2006. That October, the Chums, Inc. Board of Directors voted the Oklahoma City group, known as the Oklahoma City “Trailblazers”, as an official provisional group with ten charter members. Sponsored by the Providence, Rhode Island Chapter of Chums, the OKC Trailblazers operated as a provisional group developing bylaws, electing officers and learning about the organization.
On July 14, 2007, 16th National President Marie Lewis and then National Vice President Gloria Toxey-Jones chartered the Oklahoma City Chapter during “A Centennial Affair” at the Waterford Marriott Hotel. Chum Barbara Clarke from the sponsoring Providence, Rhode Island chapter; National Financial Secretary Chum Merla Drew; National Parliamentarian Chum Ruby Jones and President of the San Francisco Chapter Chum Grace Tipper King also attended.
Dr. Karen M. Clark, President
Karen Carter, Vice President
Susan Townsend, Secretary
Cheryl Pennington, Treasurer
Marsha Ingersoll, Financial Secretary
“Our crowns” -- the lovely hats we wear were, initiated at our chartering.
A luncheon honoring accomplished but rarely acclaimed African American women in our community is held annually in September. The first luncheon was held in 2008. The Chapter officially named the annual luncheon “I’m Every Woman” in 2011.
A scholarship program was established in 2009 to help minority youth who pursue post high school education or training. In 2011, we presented the first $500 scholarship to Siah Sicarr. We now give two $1,000 scholarships annually. In 2012, the Chapter officially named it the Dr. Karen M. Clark scholarship in recognition of our organizer and first president. The “I’m Every Woman” luncheon helps fund the scholarships.
The Chums. Inc. national theme, “listen to the children…enrich their lives,” guides our efforts to help children in our community. The Chapter has volunteered and actively engaged in community service projects including:
Adopted the Deborah Roth Group Home for teen girls mentoring them and giving them personal items, holiday gifts and hosting activities.
Served as chaperones for the Miss Black USA Ambassador pageant contestants.
Donated books to the North Highland Elementary School; read to children at Martin Luther King, Jr. and Edwards Elementary schools.
Volunteered quarterly at the Oklahoma City Regional Food Bank.
Collected and donated clothing, hygiene, Black hair products and baby items to Palomar OKC’s Family Justice Center that serves families in the Justice System, the Oklahoma City Shelter for Battered Women and the Norman Women’s Resource Center.
Collected clothing items for donations to Dress for Success.
Participated in the Northeast Academy Clean-up Project picking up trash and debris at the school’s football stadium;
Donated furniture, clothing and other goods to the Vietnam Veterans of America.
Each February, the Chapter observes the National Founders Day. We’ve hosted two Regional Founders Day events with the Fort Worth Dallas Metroplex Chapter. Founders Day programs have featured guest speakers including Rev. Steven Davis and Anna Carter. In 2017, we celebrated our 10-year Chapter Anniversary -- a Decade of Dedication at our Founders Day program. The program featured guest speakers State Representative George Young and past Dr. Karen M. Clark Scholarship recipient, Rickel Boyd. Rev. Alice Richardson was the guest speaker in 2018.
Summer Breeze Gala
In 2017, we held our first “Summer Breeze Gala” to recognize organizations in our community. We recognized the Fifth Quarter Civic Association, Oklahoma City Black Firefighters, for their efforts to recruit more minority firefighters.
Oklahoma City Chums have been very active in the national organization as well with members attending every national Conclave since our chartering. Several members serve as conclave pages and on national committees. Marsha Lyons has presented the invocation at two national Conclaves.
We were proud to get our first national officer in 2014. Marsha Ingersoll was elected as National Recording Secretary. That same year Renita Crump was elected to the National Nominating Committee. Both members were re-elected for another term at the 2016 National Conclave.
Marsha Ingersoll chaired the national Branding Committee. Working with a local graphic artist, they created new Chums, Inc. branding materials used on national and chapter printed materials. The committee also developed the national Branding Guidelines and Policies.
The Oklahoma City Chapter will host the 59th annual Chums National Conclave in Oklahoma City in 2019, “OKC-ing is believing…it’s more than you imagined.”