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2nd Annual Kappa Youth Leadership & Development League End of Year Luncheon

Blake and Kappa (Photo Credit: Jason O'Brien)

Blake and Kappa (Photo Credit: Jason O’Brien)

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.

Deltas and KLers (Photo Credit: Jason O'Brien)

Deltas and KLers (Photo Credit: Jason O’Brien)

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:

  1. Self-Identity? – Discipline, Assurance, Awareness, and Appearance
  2. Training – ?Academic, Career-Choice, Preparation, and Organization
  3. Competition? – Politics, Career Advancement, and Sports
  4. Social? – Religion, Arts, Entertainment, Conversation/Communication, and Etiquette/Manners
  5. Health Education – ?Physical Fitness, Sex Education, Drug Education, and Health and Safety.
  6. 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.”

(Photo Credit: Jason O'Brien)

(Photo Credit: Jason O’Brien)

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.

Dr. Kirk Kirkwood (Photo Credit: Jason O'Brien)

Dr. Kirk Kirkwood (Photo Credit: Jason O’Brien)

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 ProgramCheryl 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.

Yonathan and Kappa (Photo Credit: Jason O'Brien)

Yonathan and Kappa (Photo Credit: Jason O’Brien)

Super Heroes, Villains, and Cosplay….OH My!!!

Photo Credit: Via Twitter @comicconrevltn

Photo Credit: Via Twitter @comicconrevltn

By Naomi Riggins

Comic Con’s usual suspects: heroes, villains, mutants and cosplay – all the things comic lovers want, right? But what about those talents that simply don’t fit into the norm? At Comic Con Revolution, there’s an outlet for those, as well. 

The 1st Annual Comic Con Revolution is a comic book convention that was held in Ontario Convention Center on Saturday, May 13.  The one day event sponsored by Dave & Buster’s, offered a fan-friendly experience that allows the fans to interact with comic professionals at all levels. Though it primarily focuses on comic books, the convention features a large range of pop culture elements, such as professional wrestlingscience fiction/fantasy, film/television, animation, animemanga, toys, collectible card games, video games, webcomics, and fantasy novels. Workshops develop skills in writing and/or art using comics. In addition to the other vendor booths was The Art Institute of California-Inland Empire Rep. Michael Rector, provided information to creative onlookers trying to develop skills in topics ranging from animation to drawing, film, and more. To request more information Go to www.artinstitutes.edu Enter Code: HS799.

Comic Con Revolution offered many Exhibitors providing opportunities for attendees to buy comics and related goods. Several demonstrations also keep the show fresh and interesting. The wide variety of historical comic images. Panel Discussions include creators sharing their observations and experiences. Btw did I mention the Jerky? One of the most memorable booths I stopped by was David from the Jerky Hut he enticed me to try various samples before I proclaimed the winner the super tender “BBQ Whiskey” as my favorite. The fresh high quality beef jerky packed with a ton of flavor low fat, high in protein snack that comes packed into a resealable bag. See more at www.jerkyhut.com.

Attending Comic Con Revolution gave me a greater perspective in gratitude. Out of all the Conventions and Expos I ever been to I have never met a massive group of people that will go out of their way to make sure you are having a great time! I can’t wait to attend the 2nd Annual Comic Con Revoulution schedule for May 19 &20, 2018…So mark it on your calendars! To find out about this and other Comic Cons Check Out www.comicconrevolution.com

Statewide Senior Coalition Rally Lawmakers Support Policy, Budget Allocations

By California Black Media

Over 300 seniors rallied at the state Capitol last Thursday to support efforts to streamline the way the state deals with policy and budget allocations for senior citizens in the state.

In 2015, the Senate Select Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care issued a report calling for the creation of a Senate Standing Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care as one means of bringing more order to the state’s fragmented policy system on senior issues.

The report found that there were 112 aging programs administered by 20 different state agencies, departments and offices.

According to senior advocates one in five Californians will be over the age 65 by 2030, and the aging population is increasingly diverse with people age 85 and older who constitute the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. One in six seniors live in poverty with 34 percent of them Black women who live alone.

Legislative leaders spoke at the rally to share bills that have been introduced into the legislature to try and correct the budget decline in senior-related programs since the 2008 recession. 

“Of the senior citizens that live in poverty today two-thirds of them are women, so I find that morally repugnant and disgraceful,” said Senate pro Tempore, Kevin de Leon.

The Senior Coalition estimates 70 percent of people 65 years old and older will need some type of long-term care supports services.

“We as seniors need healthcare, our meds are an enormous cost, and people cannot afford food and are cutting their pills in half or going without,” said Brenda Bristow, of I HELP I.E.

“84-year old San Bernardino resident Norma Archie said, “I am fed up with government leadership and disturbed that government will take 30 million in taxpayer dollars and spend it on attorney fees for non-citizens, while seniors are going without food, their medicine and housing, I am insulted with our leaders.”

Some Bills Up For Consideration:

 SB62 (Jackson) Establishes the Affordable Senior Housing Program.

SB177 (Nguyen) Appropriates $3,300,000 from General Fund to the State Department of Health Care Services for allocation to Caregiver Resource Centers to provide respite care services.

SB202 (Dodd) Increases the Medi-Cal monthly personal needs allowance from $35 to 80 while a person is a patient in a medical institution.

AB806 (Kalra) Creates a tax credit for certain expenses incurred by a family caregiver for the care and support of a family member not to exceed $1,000.