Psi Alpha Alpha’s Foster Care High School Graduation Ceremony

 

 

Lf to Rt, Brother Ken Younger standing with Program Coordinator Natalie Sposato, and Mr. Chauncey Strong, the Master of Ceremony, and guest.
Lf to Rt, Brother Ken Younger standing with Program Coordinator Natalie Sposato, and Mr. Chauncey Strong, the Master of Ceremony, and guest.

Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter, Third District, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Springfield, VA, The Bernie L. Bates Foundation, Inc. in partnership with Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. participated in the Department of Family Services, Foster Care Program celebration for the 2017 High School graduates.

On July 21, 2017 the Grand Ballroom at the Waterford in Springfield, buzzed with excitement and happy chatter over a low mix of upbeat tunes. Framing the space were posters that celebrated the uniqueness of each graduate.

Fourteen young people were recognized last Friday at the annual Fairfax County Department of Family Services, Foster Care Program High School Graduation Celebration.

For the young people in this room, children who were removed from their biological families due to a range of abuse and neglect and moved between foster and group homes, the challenges that stood between them and a diploma were significant. Graduation rates for children raised in foster care are 49.6 percent less than the national average and the statistics on college graduates are even lower. Having a high school diploma significantly increases the range of job opportunities and earning potential. Instead of giving up, these students continued to move forward. In spite of all they have been through, they achieved this milestone. “Because of their hard work and the support of people both in-and outside of this room, they were able to be here to graduate.” The room cheered at the words of Chauncey Strong, Fairfax County Foster Care and adoption supervisor.

Nine graduates were celebrated in person, each toasted by a member of their social work team and given an opportunity to say a few words. There was clapping, cheering and even some tears. Adults expressed pride in their young charges’ accomplishments and the young adults, both shyly and exuberantly, showed their own pride in themselves and appreciation for the support they had received from the support group represented in the room.

The event, planned by Natalie Sposato, Fairfax County Department of Family Services, life skills coordinator, was intended to keep this milestone from going unnoticed. “A high school diploma can never be taken away. It’s something that should be acknowledged and celebrated,” said Sposato. Together with the support of the Department of Family Services staff and members of the community, the event included a buffet, giveaways, certificates and speeches. Moreover, at every opportunity, the proceedings were paused to give all of the graduates’ one more big cheer.

Director Kenneth Younger, representing Bernie L. Bates Foundation, Inc. and Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. was present at the graduation ceremony and presented each graduate with a Community Recognition Award for their accomplishment and a $25 gift certificate. This is the second year our organization has collaborated with the Fairfax County Department of Family Services, Foster Care Program.

Article Written By Brother, Bradford Caldwell
July 29, 2017

Submitted by Brother Kevin R Williams
PsiAA Chapter Reporter

Psi Alpha Alpha 2017 Rebuilding Together

ALEXANDRIA VA, The last Saturday in April brings out the best in the brothers of Psi Alpha Alpha and this year was no different as the chapter was once again an active and dedicated participant in the National Rebuilding Day, Saturday, April 29, 2017. This ambitious program stretches across the country and in our community, where volunteers contribute time, energy and skills improving the homes of senior citizens facing financial and other challenges. Eleven brothers (Jason Barnwell, Marion “Barney” Barnwell, Warren Bacote, Terry Cooper, Clarence Demory, Eddie Evans, Richard Garvin, Leroy Latten, Norris Middleton, Theodore Williams and Kenneth Younger) and one volunteer, Jose “JR”Lacayo, were among the more than 900 community members, in our larger northern Virginia areas of Arlington, Fairfax and Falls Church, who worked on 27 homes and several non-profit facilities during the nationally designated Rebuilding Together Day.

Psi Alpha Alpha, led by the steadfast, loyal and dedicated Barney Barnwell, who has served in this capacity for more than 27 years, was assigned a condominium in Alexandria, VA that had suffered slight earthquake damage several years ago. Though the condominium is compact and tidy, this Rebuilding Together project required several meetings at the work site and numerous trips to the hardware store to purchase necessary supplies and a few tools needed to get the job done. Expectations were to complete the project on the designated day; however, complications completing some tasks made it necessary to return to the project site the following Saturday, May 6th to ensure all tasks were not just completed but done satisfactorily. Brothers faithfully returning the following Saturday were Barney Barnwell, Clarence Demory, Leroy Latten and Kenneth Younger. Jose “JR” Lacayo, a volunteer, also returned and provided a helpful hand.

The homeowner was a very cordial female senior citizen, currently undergoing cancer treatment, who allowed required access to her home to evaluate the work to be performed and, of course, to perform those tasks agreed upon after a consultation with her. The Arlington/Fairfax/Falls Church Rebuilding Together team pre-screens each property to determine and assess those tasks which will make the home a safer and healthier place to live. Rebuilding Together’s mission is to provide, as much as possible, a safe and healthy home for our neighbors through financial and physical efforts of volunteers such Psi Alpha Alpha.

For some time, the homeowner did not have working ceiling lights in her kitchen; therefore, she was very pleased after both lights were made operable by replacing the old fixtures. The exhaust fan was also replaced. She now has a bright and more comfortable kitchen in which to cook and to clean once meals are finished. This repair was one she really enjoyed. Access to the condominium’s attic is by way of a pull down ladder in one of the bedrooms, which is uncomfortable in winter because of drafts from the attic’s trap door. To help reduce the amount of draft, our team of workers spread ceiling insulation in the attic which should make the bedroom more comfortable during the winter. Over time, air sealing the attic with insulation has the added benefit of reducing utility bills.

The smallest room in the home, the bathroom, required the greatest number of individual tasks, including, removing and replacing the basin and faucets, installing a grab bar, removing and replacing the exhaust fan, applying caulking around bathtub and shower, shaving the corners of the bathroom door to ease opening and closing, scraping peeling paint off the ceiling, several walls and the door, and, finally, painting the entire room.

Major features added to the home were two handrails installed on two separate tall staircases, making it easier for the homeowner to access the upper levels of her home. Both handrails were 12 feet in length and once installed provided right and left support while climbing the stairs. This safety feature not only makes the home a healthier place to live, it also makes it easier for the homeowner to better age in place. After installing the handrails, all walls along both staircases were painted and the handrails were stained. The homeowner was most particularly pleased with the results since it brightens her home and it makes it much safer to climb the stairs.

The brothers of Psi Alpha Alpha devoted nearly 12 working hours over two days completing the tasks at the assigned work site. Prior to and on Saturday, April 29th, several PAA committee members purchased materials and supplies in preparation for Rebuilding Together Day. Purchases included two gallons of wall paint, stain, paint brushes, drop cloths, rollers, painter’s tape, light and electrical fixtures, drop-in basin, bathroom faucets, drywall anchors, handrails, brackets, screws, spackle, paint pans, two exhaust fans, laser level, stud sensor, caulking, plumbers putty, face masks, and putty knives. All items were purchased using the $2,500.00 PAA donated to this cause which was in addition to the time, talent and labor contributed by the 11 brothers and one volunteer.

PAA is proud to participate in the Rebuilding Together social action initiative, especially since it provides an opportunity for the brothers to engage with individuals with challenges within our community and help alleviate some of their concerns about their homes so that they may focus on other matters. With respect to this particular assignment, the homeowner now has a better functioning and a more pleasant and brighter home, allowing her to focus instead on regaining her health once the cancer treatments end.

Rebuilding Together is both an important and relevant project because it establishes Psi Alpha Alpha as a positive contributor to the Arlington/Fairfax/Falls Church community. PAA is one of a number of volunteer organizations dedicated to aid in providing safe, healthy and stable homes for those with financial difficulties, housing related issues or health challenges. PAA is pleased to contribute to this very worthy cause.

Brother Latten,
Submitted By Chapter Reporter,
Brother Kevin R. WIlliams

Omega Chapter-Former Grand Basileus Brother Dr. Moses C. Norman, Sr.

It is with a heavy heart that we must share the sad news of the passing of a great man and a mighty tree in the Omega Forest.

Although Brother Dr. Moses C. Norman Sr. is no longer with us, his legacy will live on for the ages in the hearts and souls of all the people who had the pleasure of meeting or working with him. Brother Norman served three consecutive terms as Grand Basileus (1984-1990). He was first elected at the 1984 Louisville Grand Conclave. He entered Omega Psi Phi on December 13, 1954 through Beta Psi Chapter at Clark College, Atlanta, Georgia. Brother Norman held a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership and Management from Georgia State University. His three sons became Omega Men. May God rest his soul in peace and tranquillity.

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Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter’s “Reading for Success” Initiative–April 6, 2017

Brother Jeffrey Owens and Brother Jerry Hubbard asks the students questions concerning the book.

Alexandria, VA. The brothers of Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., have been putting a lot of quality time uplifting the community. We concluded that neither rain, nor snow, nor severe countywide storm could preclude the occurrence of our third Reading for Success session at Riverside Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia. In spite of the storm, 14 of 17 chapter brothers were able to brave the weather and turned a potential limited showing into another success.

The reading occurred on April6, 2017, and the Brothers of Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter, known affectionately as “The Sirs,” supported six,third-grade classes consisting of 125 students. Our efforts to emphasize the importance of reading were truly appreciated based on the students’ and teachers’ responses.

The book that was chosen for the third read aloud was “Joanie’s House Becomes a Home” by Donna Latham. The book was read and given as an eighth book for the student’s individual library. The book tells the incredible story of a girl name Joanie Chen who is moving from San Francisco, California, to Boston, Massachusetts, with her family, and the process involved in making the move and finding new friends.

Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter was represented by 14brothers who served as reading mentors: Brothers Marion “Barney” Barnwell; Bradford Caldwell; James Cherry; Richard Garner; James George; Jerome “Duke” Haggins; Willard Jasper; JD Leverett;Ronald Lofton, Sr.; Frank Matthews; Richard Morris; Sheldon Schanck; and Charles Sias. The chapter’s Social Action Coordinator, Brother Kenneth M. Younger, facilitated the event and the feedback from our first-time readers was that, it was truly inspiring to be able to give back to the community.

To date, the men of Psi Alpha Alpha have donated over 988 books in connection with the reading program. The overarching goal of this social action effort was to inspire the third-graders to be excited about reading and to touch the lives of as many students as possible at Riverside Elementary. The brothers of Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter will continue to do their part as we look forward to our fourth and final “Read Aloud” in June 2017.

Brad Caldwell and Brother James George Read to the Third grade students.

Brother Ralph Cooper shows the class pictures in the book while Brother Frank Matthews reads.

 

YIO,
Brother Kevin Williams
Chapter Reporter
Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Stuff the Bus 2017, Helping to Feed Fairfax County Families

Franconia- Springfield VA-For a third consecutive year The Brothers of Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter, accepted the challenge to make a difference by supporting the Helping Fairfax County Families Project known as “Stuff the Bus.” On Monday, February 20, 2017, the chapter made their annual donation and volunteered as canvassers to solicit food donations from customers shopping at a Safeway Food Store.

Stuff the Bus is a county-wide program designed to help restock non-profit food pantries after the holidays and during the cold winter months when food donations drop to the lowest points. Unfortunately, many people continue to go hungry in our community. This collaborative program, now in its seventh year, is a partnership with the Fairfax County Government, local grocery stores, and non-profit organizations to restock the shelves.

Brother Richard “EZ” Morris (L ) Basileus Craig Spraggins, (Center), Brother Kenneth Younger, presents check to Ms. Judi Petitti (Center), wife of the Executive Director of the Koinonia Foundation, Inc., Mr. Robert Petitti (not pictured).

The chapter partnered with the Koinonia Foundation, a foundation that provides both short-term emergency assistance and self-sufficiency services to citizens in the Kingstowne/Franconia area in the form of food, clothing, and a financial safety net. Mrs. Judi Petitti, wife of the Executive Director of the Koinonia Foundation, Inc., Mr. Robert Petitti, accepted our donation of $300 in Safeway gift cards. She was very pleased to accept our generous donation.

Psi Alpha Alpha’s volunteers included the Basileus, Brother Craig
Spraggins; Brother Richard “EZ” Morris; and Brother Kenneth M. Younger,
Chapter Social Actions Coordinator. The Basileus made the gift card
presentation on behalf of the chapter and we are pleased again that Psi Alpha
Alpha Chapter was able to do its part to uplift the community

YIO,
Brother Kevin Williams
Chapter Reporter
Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Koinonia Service

On January 29, 2017, Psi Alpjan-29-2017-5th-sundayha Alpha Chapter Brothers fellowshipped in unity at New Horizon Christian Faith Church in Woodbridge, VA. at the invitation of Psi Alpha Alpha Chaplain, Brother Cornelius Beidleman and Brother Rev. Theodore Strange, III for the Koinonia Service. The service began at 9:00 am and the Brothers had a great time of fellowship, worship, and friendship. Koinonia is a Greek word that occurs 20 times in the Bible. Koinonia’s primary meaning is “fellowship, sharing in common, communion”.

The next fellowship will be held on Sunday, March 12, 2017 for the NA II Memorial Service. Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter will lead this effort. The church location and time of service will be posted on the District Calendar. However, I encourage you all to plan to attend. The attire is Omega Dress (Black/Dark Blue Suit, White Shirt, Purple Tie, Black Socks and Black Shoes).

Call to Action: We Shall Not Be Moved March on Washington

We Shall Not Be Moved March on Washington
January 14, 2017

Partnering with Reverend Al Sharpton and the National Action Network (NAN), the men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated ventured into Washington, D.C. to brave the elements for a worthy cause. The We Shall Not Be Moved March on Washington was created to preserve and protect the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the legacy of President Barack Obama. It was only fitting to conduct such a march on the holiday weekend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. himself. Brothers from Omega Psi Phi were called to serve as ushers on this monumental occasion in light of the election of then President Elect Donald Trump and the continue disparities of treatment of people of color. Psi Alpha Alpha would lend a helping hand in this regard on this cold wet day of January.

Brother Harvey Woods of the Pi Lambda Lambda chapter of Omega Psi Phi called for a gathering of Brothers very near to the stage on the same grounds as the Washington Monument. There thousands
had already gathered for a pre-rally prior to the start of the march to the West Potomac Park very near to the MLK memorial. Shortly after arriving, Brother Terry Cooper and Craig Spraggins convened with
thirteen other Brothers from the second and third districts of the organization.

A representative from the National Action Network responsible for the movement of marchers from one location to another provided the purpose of the marshal and the directions required for such a role. As marshals, the men of Omega standing alongside other volunteers were to act as the flanks (left and ride) of the marching column. Beginning at 10:55, Reverend Al Sharpton moved down the sidewalk and into the marshal corridor where we began to walk from the theater to the West Potomac Park staging area for the final speeches to be delivered. Speeches begun shortly after arrival and our duties and responsibilities as marshals had concluded.

It was a gratifying experience knowing that as marshals, we provided safe passage to marches as they expressed their freedom of speech right to those in attendance. The men of Psi Alpha Alpha were
pleased to serve in such a capacity on the holiday weekend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.