On the evening of Saturday, Feb. 24, Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc. Will County Black Diamond Chapter hosted its inaugural masquerade/casino night gala
The event, held at the Tinley Park Convention Center, was a first for the Will County group.
“We wanted to do something big to benefit the kids with scholarships,” said Karen Dilligard, president of Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc. Will County Black Diamond Chapter.
Dilligard said the group is newer to the community, and it has only been existence for two years.
“We want to bring awareness to Top Ladies of Distinction and what we do in the community to support teens,” Dilligard said. “People always say Top Ladies of Distinction is one of the top-kept secrets in the community.”
Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc. Will County Black Diamond Chapter is part of a national-level organization whose mission is to enhance and enrich the lives of youth and adults through community-based programs and projects.
Some initiatives of note include community beautification, community partnerships and a back-to-work initiative for women.
In the past, the group has supported a number of organizations, including the NAACP, UNCF, NCNW, sickle cell disease research, March of Dimes and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Guests played casino games throughout the evening. Elsewhere, they enjoyed live music and dancing.
Anyone who played casino games tried their hand at winning gift baskets, and members of the Will County group donated 13 of them, all of which were available for viewing.
Tickets to the event were $75, and the funds raised are to support the Will County Black Diamond Chapter’s Top Teens scholarship program.
The gala brought in an estimated 250 guests this year.
“It’s going to be an annual event,” Dilligard said.
Dilligard said the feedback has been phenomenal.
The goal, Dilligard said, is to raise $10,000 by the evening’s end.
“All seniors will receive a scholarship,” she said. “The amount is given based on participation.”
Students are required to provide proof that they’ve enrolled in college in order to use the funds.
“The membership in the organization has grown over the years,” Dilligard said. “We have 52 teens and four ladies.”
Earlier in the evening, a video presentation showcased testimonials, and each one of them featured a student expressing how the group has impacted their lives to their benefit.
Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc. Will Count Black Diamond Chapter was originally chartered in 2015.
“They’ve done exceptional work in the community following the five goals,” said Mary Leach Davis, area three director for Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc., referring to the Will County group. “It’s all about the teens, and it’s meant to give them a way of life.”
Leach Davis said the reason the group was formed was to fill a void they felt existed in the Will County area.
Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc. Will County Black Diamond Chapter has expanded its efforts over time to support women by helping them with resumes and clothing for interviews.
The group also provides assistance to senior citizens who reside in Will County.
“We help them with social security,” Leach Davis said. “We help with taxes, if they still have to pay them. We introduce them to different programs. We care for them.”
Leach Davis said that with “everything they do, our teens are part of it.”