Health Fair and Blood Drive 2019

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On June 29, 2019, the men of Psi Alpha Alpha (PsiAA) Chapter, Third District, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. hosted our second annual Health Fair and Blood Drive in collaboration with the Gum Springs Community Center and the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Service Board. The Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter Brothers volunteered to assist with parking, vendor setup and breakdown, security, and crowd control. This event served as the Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter’s Charles Drew Memorial Blood Drive which gave residents the opportunity to give the gift of life by donating much needed blood plasma.

The success of the blood drive was evident in the 21 units of blood collected which ultimately can save up to 126 lives. Other featured service providers in attendance (but not limited to) were the Department of Family Services (SNAP), Foster Care & Adoption, Domestic Violence Action Center (DVAC), American Diabetes Association, Community Service Board Wellness, Health Promotion, and Prevention; Unit Healthcare, Bethlehem Baptist Church (Blood Pressure checks), PsiAA Voter Registration, Mount Vernon Police Department, Mt. Vernon Hospital (Wound Healing, Inova Rehab, and Joint Replacement), and Aging, Disability, and Caregivers Resources.

On-site health screenings consisted of Dental, Blood Pressure, HIV/STD, Glucose, Cholesterol, Body Mass Index (BMI), Hearing, and Sight. The learning sessions consisted of Mental Health in the African American Community, Prostate Cancer, and CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation). The Children’s Virginia Blood Donor society was also present and taking blood donations.

The Health Fair is very important to the Gum Springs community, as attendees were able to receive valuable information related to various health and community topics. The services were provided free of charge and was open to the public. The PsiAA Brothers also participated in the various health forums provided. Both medical and certified professionals discussed issues that afflict African American men, brought awareness to preventive medicine techniques, and informed the audience of mental health issues in the African American community. The presenters were well informed and well versed in the topic areas posed by the audience.

There were 30 plus PsiAA Brothers who supported this event. All the service providers and guests expressed their appreciation and look forward to participating or attending in future events.

PsiAA Reading for Success June 2019

On June 5, 2019, the men of Psi Alpha Alpha (PsiAA) Chapter, Third District, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. conducted the fourth and final “Reading for Success” program at Riverside Elementary School was conducted on June 5, 2019 and it was a huge success.  The brothers, known affectionately as “The Sirs,” once again, supported six third-grade classes with a total of 223 students.  We chose “What a Day” by Rena Korb.  The book tells the story of a young girl who volunteered at an animal shelter during a winter blizzard and how she helped calm the shelter dogs and rescued a lost dog.  Eight chapter brothers supported this effort and enjoyed the mentoring session as much as the students.  The highlight of this session was the appreciation personally expressed by the Principle Mr. Paul Basdekis.  He thanked us for our continued support and stated how important is for “The Sirs” to make a presence and impact the young readers.  With today’s book donation, the program has provided 4,044 age appropriate books to the third-grade students at Riverside Elementary School this school year.  We look forward to supporting this program in the coming school year this fall as we will enter our sixth year of supporting Riverside Elementary School.

PsiAA Scholarship Breakfast 2019

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On June 1, 2019, the men of Psi Alpha Alpha (PsiAA) Chapter, Third District, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. held the fifth annual Scholarship and Community Recognition Breakfast; the event was underwritten by the Bernie L. Bates Foundation, Inc.—a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization.

Brother Eric Kelly, President of the Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter, and Brother Richard Morris, President of Bernie L. Bates Foundation, Inc, long other chapter and foundation members greeted nearly 120 attendees.

The Foundation/Psi Alpha Alpha awarded $22,950 to 21 scholars for the 2019 Scholarship and Community Recognition Programs. The awards were presented in three groups of honorees and community recognitions: Students who apply to the Bernie L. Bates Foundation’s Scholarship Program are selected based on the scholarship committee’s selection criteria; the community recognitions are selected by the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

In 2019, the selections were Scholarship Honorees ($18,000), University Recognitions ($2250), High School Recognitions ($200), and a Special Perseverance Award ($2,500). Of special note, the five highest awards were given in the names of prominent Omega men whom devoted their lives to the service of their communities and set the example of a selfless servant. Each had family members present to witness the honoring of their selflessness through scholarship

In addition to the mellow sounds of DJ Kool K, the Chapter’s first-place Talent Hunt contestant performed a rhythmic dance to the sounds of “Rise Up” by performing artist, Andra Day. The second-place contestant, Mr. Nicholas McCatty provided his wonderful vocals to the soulful classic “Everything Must Change” by Quincy Jones.  Both artist received standing ovations for their brilliant performances. In true Psi Alpha Alpha fashion, the chapter utilizes every opportunity to highlight the skills of our Talent Hunt winners and participants.

The event was highlighted with strong words of wisdom from the dynamic speaking of Brother Barrye Price, a retired Major General of the United States Army. His charge reminded the students that while in college, they must always remember what they came there for, not to lose sight of their own stuff, seek help before finding yourself underwater, and that there are no shortcuts, so do the work!

Mr. Shamaal Sheppard, a 2019 graduate of Columbia University with a Masters in Health Policy and Management; provided an excellent charge to the honorees. His final and most powerful point was to challenge the scholars to find the “why” in what they are doing. He described it as the passion that gets them up each morning. This is what keeps the fire burning and brings purpose to your being.

Over the past thirteen years, the Foundation and Psi Alpha Alpha have provided over $400,000 in support of the Fairfax County community; our programs include, but are not limited to- the Youth Aviation Program, Reading for Success Program, Gum Springs Community Center, New Hope Housing, Northern Virginia Urban League, Capital Area Food Bank, Boys & Girls Club and a myriad of other community support activities.

Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter and the Bernie L. Bates Foundation will continue to support the community through the cardinal principles of Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance, and Uplift.

PsiAA at Celebrate Fairfax Festival 2019

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On the weekend of June 7, 2009, the men of Psi Alpha Alpha (PsiAA) Chapter, Third District, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. returned to the “Celebrate Fairfax” event as a vendor, offering a wide variety of adult beverages to the event patrons. As a non-profit partner to the “Celebrate Fairfax” organization, the Chapter donates man-hours at a designated sales station, and in turn receives a portion of the profits from those sales as a fundraiser. Celebrate Fairfax is a “county fair” activity hosted by the Fairfax County Government and its sponsors, and is the largest community wide celebration in Northern Virginia. The annual event hosts tens of thousands of visitors during its three-day run. The site hosts twenty-five acres of exhibitors, food vendors, interactive activities, and carnival rides, with continuous live entertainment. Psi Alpha Alpha was one of nonprofit groups to host an unlimited craft beer tasting event on June 9, 2019. This year, Psi Alpha Alpha raised over $5,073 in total fund-raising, supporting Chapter activities as well as scholarships via the Chapter’s associated charitable (501(c)(3)) organization, the Bernie L. Bates Foundation, Inc. Although this activity represents a substantial amount of labor on the part of the Chapter, brothers always enjoy participating in this excellent fundraiser because it offers them an opportunity for brothers to directly interact with our constituent county. As the event chair, I wish to thank all the Brothers who volunteered their time to work a shift, and we look forward to next year’s event.