Omega Psi Phi gives back to the community with bookbag drive and student mentorship

By Airik Myers, The Seattle Medium

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.’s Zeta Upsilon Chapter, in partnership with Omega Charities of Seattle, a 501c3 entity, recently held its first annual bookbag drive to ensure local students have the tools to succeed in class. The organization, founded on the principles of community service and uplifting communities, set out to provide bags of books and school supplies to 50 students attending Rainier Valley Academy and Washington Middle School in Seattle.

According to Marcus Delgado, a member of the local Omega Psi Phi elders chapter, the chapter was looking for an effective way to connect with the local community and young people, and collecting bags of books provided them with a great opportunity to partner. with schools. and promote academic excellence.

“I have personally contacted Washington Middle School and Rainer Valley Leadership Academy as schools located in the Central District of the Rainier Beach area,” Delgado said. “I really felt that we could impact a lot of young people in these inner city neighborhoods who have been really hit really hard by the pandemic and who maybe don’t have the resources that some of the other schools and / or students from other parts of the city [have]. “

According to the Seattle-based Equity in Education Coalition, “Washington presents one of the largest and most persistent opportunity gaps in the country, meaning that barriers to academic opportunity for children in low-income communities and Communities of color are still so important that we can effectively predict a child’s grades based on their race, family income level, and zip code.

Additionally, the United Negro College Fund noted that “students of color are often concentrated in schools with fewer resources. Schools with 90% or more students of color spend $ 733 less per student each year than institutions with 90% or more white students.

Katrina Hunt, principal of Washington High School, says collecting bags of books is a good start for their relationship with the Omegas, but says she is even more excited about the long-term impact the partnership will have on them. students of his school. .

“[I really wanted] my students to have more visibility with black men who do different things, ”says Hunt. “I don’t want to give anyone’s career any negative connotations, but most of my students, of course, think they’re going to be football players, basketball stars, or rap artists. And I just wanted them to see engineers, doctors, dentists and business people of color to support a different lead. [And let them know that] you can do both.

This project was initially supposed to start at the start of the last school year, but due to the pandemic it had to be delayed for a year. With Washington Middle School, Omegas have also partnered with Rainer Valley Leadership Academy (RVLA). RVLA CEO Baionne Coleman also believes her students will benefit from seeing fellowship members getting involved and giving back to their community.

According to Coleman, it’s important for his students to see the difference between a positive brotherhood and a negative brotherhood.

“We prefer you to be part of something that is study-based and always gives you that support with other men who are like you and have had shared experiences,” Coleman says. “Being able to see older brothers with Omega Psi Phi [will give them the] the opportunity to see successful men who have truly grounded themselves in the academic foundation, have created a fraternity and can then continue to pass this on and become mentors for the younger brothers and the community.

Being able to see older male role models making a positive impact in the community is considered invaluable. In some cases of children, this might be the only male influence in their life. Omega’s drive to support local communities is supported by their passion for youth development, education, mentoring and community service. They have built a strong and effective force of men devoted to his cardinal principles of virility, scholarship, perseverance and elevation.

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