By Angela M. Coggs
On Saturday, May 20, the Riverside Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. hosted the 2nd Annual Kappa Youth Leadership & Development League End of Year Luncheon at Castaways Restaurant in San Bernardino from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Each Kappa League member played an integral part of the program that included giving the invocation, making speeches, introducing peers and guest speakers as well as conducting the master of ceremony duties. The celebration set against the elegant, breathtaking backdrop provided an intimate affair high on the rolling hills of San Bernardino.
The Kappa League Program has a mission to provide educational college readiness opportunities for economically disadvantaged young men of color. The Riverside Alumni Chapter Kappa League focuses on training young men of color (but not exclusive to) 9th-12th grade for leadership, achievement and service in every field of human endeavor. The fundamental purpose of Kappa Alpha Psi is ACHIEVEMENT, it is therefore the Fraternity’s primary purpose to help these young men achieve worthy goals for themselves, and make constructive contributions to their community when they assume leadership roles.
This year marked Riverside Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi’s second year of conducting this leadership development program for high school young men. After a successful inaugural year with eight participants with a primary focus of introducing them to our 6-phase program:
- Self-Identity? – Discipline, Assurance, Awareness, and Appearance
- Training – ?Academic, Career-Choice, Preparation, and Organization
- Competition? – Politics, Career Advancement, and Sports
- Social? – Religion, Arts, Entertainment, Conversation/Communication, and Etiquette/Manners
- Health Education – ?Physical Fitness, Sex Education, Drug Education, and Health and Safety.
- Financial Literacy – Budget and financial planning
“As Chairman of the 2016-2017 Kappa League program I am extremely proud of the accomplishments attained by our 16 young men. The end of the year luncheon at the Castaways restaurant gave us an opportunity to put on display some of the skills that our young men were exposed to and developed over this course of this year,” said Zack Stewart, Kappa League Chairman and member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. “It also gave us a chance to recognize the young men, their parents and those that played a role in making this year such a success.”
In addition to celebrating the young men as a group, the only two graduating seniors Jeremiah Evans (attending University of California, Riverside in the fall) and Cameron Miles Scruggs (attending University of Nevada, Las Vegas in the fall) both received a $1,000 scholarship.
Another organization that played an amazing part in ensuring the program’s success was Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. The EMBODI (Empowering Males to Build Opportunities for Developing Independence) Program is designed to refocus the efforts of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., with the support and action of other major organizations, on the plight of African-American males. EMBODI addresses issues related to STEM education, culture, self-efficacy, leadership, physical and mental health, healthy lifestyles choices, character, ethics, relationships, college readiness, fiscal management, civic engagement and service learning.
Cheryl Nichols and Estella Wells, of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., presented each of the young men who completed the yearlong program with a certificate of completion, a bow tie with “EMBODI” embroidered on it, and a book entitled, “101 Things Every Young Man of Color Should Know” by Dr. LaMarr Darnell Shields. The book was given to inspire the young men on their continued journey in life.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Kirk Kirkwood, Ed.D., Vice President of Educational Services for College Bound. The mission of College Bound is to provide comprehensive programs and services that prepare students for admission into and graduation from accredited four-year institutions of higher education Kirkwood is also a successful graduate of the nonprofit he now helps to oversee. His inspirational message to the Kappa Leaguers about writing their story before someone else does resonated with everyone in the filled room.
Kirkwood invited the young men to write their three chapter “Book of Life” by unfolding stories of their life’s journey. Chapter 1- “We’ve Come A Long Way- History- Remember your history and what you’ve been able to accomplish thus far by the Grace of God. Keeping alive our rich ancestry history from Africa as the sons and daughters of Kings and Queens- Royalty.” Chapter 2- “We Shall Not Be Moved- Don’t be afraid and intimidated, listen to your parents, take care of your responsibilities and have an attitude of gratitude. Given the turmoil of today, making the world great again and stand fast on the guiding principles of the Lord.” Chapter 3- “The Best is yet to come”- These pages are blank but what you do today will effect what is written about you tomorrow. You are now in the process of writing your own story and accomplishing your goals. You are in control.”
Kappa League 2016-2017 members: Agyei Butler (President), Jailan Spencer Blackwell, Timothy Bolton, Jeremiah Evans, Julian Garrett, Blake Gilmore, Yonathan Habtemariam, Joshua Hudson, Matthew Ruan Issac, Ahmir Khalid King, Brian Palmer Jr., Keyvon Rankin, Stanun Rudley, Cameron Miles Scruggs, Deon L. Thomas III, Brandon A. Wells, and Christopher Williamson.
The event was well attended with guest including the Kappa Leaguers parents, grandparents, mentors and supportive community members. This year’s sponsors were Riverside Alumni Chapter Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Akil Manley and Wal-Mart. Partnerships and Special Thanks goes to Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. – EMBODI Program– Cheryl Nichols and Estella Wells, Abundant Living Family Church (AALFC) Sondra Mc Ginnis, University of California, Riverside- Dr. Kenneth E. Simmons, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Male Success Initiative- California State University, Fullerton, and Corbin J. Pickett- The Candid Professional.
“We are extremely proud of our Kappa Leaguers and expect them to continue pursuing achievement in every field of human endeavor,” said Stewart.
The Riverside Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc. would like to invite interested young men grade 9th to 12 grade to join the current members of their Kappa Youth Leadership and Development League to learn more about their unique program and the achievements of their outstanding young men by visiting http://www.rackapsi.com. To become a sponsor, new member or to attain information about the program, please contact Zack Stewart at Stwe2z@aol.com.