By Evelyn McDonald
Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Richmond is celebrating the birthday of Mother Stevanna Herron, who turned 100 on Thursday.
She is a charter member of the church and has been a member for 69 years.
Very active in the community, she was one of the organizers of the Girls Club, now Girls Inc. She put up the first $1,000 to secure the building currently occupied by Girls Inc.
She was instrumental in starting South Side Community Center, Neighborhood Youth Center (NYC), Well Baby Clinic, Job Placement Center, voter registration and the Brown Bag lunch program.
She also helped many young people obtain their first jobs.
According to BAPAC president Lloyd Madden, she helped him find his first job as a youth and community organizer when he returned home after graduating from Fresno State.
“Mrs. Herron was on the Board of Directors, chair of the Personnel Committee (at Southside Community Center), and she offered me the job,” Madden said. “ She said she was extremely proud that I came back home after graduating to work in the community … that I would be a role model for all young adults and youth regardless of the neighborhood.”
Born Dec. 27, 1912, in Corpus Christi, Texas, she and her husband migrated to Richmond in 1942.
In 1943, she met Rev. G.W. Dowthard, and Zion Hill was started. She served as church clerk, director of Christian Education and president of the Mission Society. She also served as dean of Christian Education, and 2nd Vice President of the Home & Foreign Mission District Association at the state level.
Mother Herron lives by her creed: “If I can help somebody, then my living will not be in vain.”