NEPTUNE, New Jersey -- During Women's History Month, the Central Jersey Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Club holds various programs to honor women leaders and highlight causes that are important to the community.
The organization has honored trailblazers in history, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton - who helped form the women's rights movement; Mary McLeod Bethune - an educator who set the standard for Black colleges and was an advisor to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt; and Sojourner Truth - an abolitionist during the civil rights and women's rights movements of the nineteenth century.
The club uses Women's History Month as an opportunity to share the accomplishments of women.
The club members hold panels with women from various careers like medicine and education so that they can share their knowledge on how to break into their fields.
In the club's youth division for children ages 12-18 in the Monmouth County area, students can do community service and activism, as well as participate in STEM, STEAM, and the S.A.F.E. Encounters program, which teaches the kids how to interact with law enforcement.
The club helps youth build the leadership skills needed to be strong individuals in the future.
"The overall goal of the STEAM initiative was to bring more science opportunities to the youth of our communities before they reached high school," said Kanesha Jones, Vice President of the Central Jersey Club.
The National Association was founded by Emma Odessa Young and other professional women from the New York area in 1935.
"They started this wonderful organization at a time when you wouldn't think women were able to do such a thing," said Peola Smith-Smith, former National President.
The local Central Jersey Club was founded by Mrs. Margaread White from Eatontown New Jersey, and the local club was chartered in 1964.
The women in these organizations work year-round to spread a message of empowerment, development, and professionalism.
The club created an outlet within the community to promote the interests of female business owners and professional women.
"Personal development, women development, and community development that what we're all about," said Smith-Smith.