PsiAA and BLB provide to our caregivers May 2021

On May 5, 2021, the Brothers of Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter, Third District, The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and the Bernie L. Bates Foundation, Inc., joined forces to make a positive impact on the caregivers in Fairfax, County, Virginia who are diligently working to ensure they manage the health and care or our residents who have been impacted, as a result of COVID-19. The Chapter’s Basileus (Brother Willie J. Willims, Jr.) and Brother Calvin Beidleman along with RX Catering owner (Ms. Cheron Burns) delivered meals to the staff at Mount Vernon Hospital. There were approximately 100 meals provided to the staff. The hospital administration and staff were very grateful for our support.

Dad’s Parenting – Fatherhood Initiatives 2021

The Brothers of Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc, in collaboration with the Father Engagement Unit of Fairfax County Department of Family Services, completed another successful facilitation of the County’s Dad’s Parenting Program in the Spring of 2021.

From February to April of 2021, the brothers of Psi Alpha Alpha provided direction and insight on what it means to be a man and a father as well as expounded on their varied experiences as fathers.   In total, ten fathers graduated from the 13-session virtual program.  To supplement the financial burden caused by the pandemic, Psi Alpha Alpha donated gift cards totaling $500 to the participating fathers to provide support for some of the basic necessities such as food, gas, infant care, or anything else they may need in support of their families.

The Dad’s Parenting program serves to enhance fathers’ overall parenting and fathering skills as well as promote and celebrate the importance of fathers in Fairfax County.  The Chapter’s involvement has helped increase Fairfax County DFS’ capacity to meet the needs of fathers in Fairfax County, as well as educate fathers about the critical roles they play in the lives of their children.

Picture: Bro. James Cherry presenting gift cards to Dad’s Parenting facilitator Bennie Herron, PsiAA CItizen of the Year

Brother James Cherry

Chairman – Fatherhood Initiative Committee

PsiAA Virtual Social 2021

On April 17, 2021, the Bernie L. Bates Foundation, Inc sponsored the Virtual 80s QUE-Rantine Extravaganza. This progressive, virtual social event was hosted by the Brothers of Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. This was a first-of-its-kind Virtual Social Event that featured not only the now common awesome DJ in virtual space, but this event also featured six additional breakout rooms offering a variety of options for the participants.

“If we are bound to improve, we need not trouble to improve. The pure doctrine of progress is the best of all reasons for not being a progressive.”
G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

The event was attended by more than 150 patrons. It was designed to appeal to a diverse clientele by providing a variety of activities in several breakout rooms. It also featured an exhibit hall with several vendors to display their goods and services and potentially make some sales and foster relationships.  The music in the main room was provided by DJ Rob Stacks, a brother of Omega, who pledged at Tau Lambda Chapter during the Spring of 2001. He played a mix of 80s and 90s hip hop and R&B tunes while providing excitement with his personal touch.  For a more mellow vibe, Brother Keith Wilson (Lambda Gamma, Spring 1980) from Kool K Entertainment provided his smooth jazz saxophone flavor in a separate breakout room.  Psi Alpha Alpha’s own in-house chef, Julian Gudger (Psi Alpha Alpha, 2000) provided an interactive cooking demonstration instructing patrons how to properly cook bacon-wrapped dates, chicken tenders with honey mustard sauce, and kettle popcorn.  To work off that delicious meal, patrons could switch to another breakout room for an energetic Zumba class, led by Rosa Seward from Brickhouse Fitness.  Bro. Ikey Staton (Gamma Pi, Fall 2004) from Southern Sticks & Smoke, and Dyane Johnson from Petworth Cigars, held separate “Cigar 101” sessions that showcased their knowledge of cigar brands and flavors, and accessories. This also included a tour of the Petworth Lounge and education on cigar etiquette, drink pairing, and basic cigar knowledge (selecting the right cigar, cutting vs. punching, lighting cigars, etc.).  Patrons had access to two Show Biz Production’s Casino game breakout rooms during the event, where they could try their hand at the Blackjack tables. The evening also featured two 50/50 Raffles that kept all on edge as the drawings were being announced. All event sponsors were prominently displayed throughout the night on our digital Sponsorship billboard. In addition, all Top sponsors were provided a 30 second advertisement video which was played during the event. Overall, the event was a great success that set the bar for virtual events where only Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter has ascended.

Adopt-A-Highway April 2021

On April 3, 2021, the men of Psi Alpha Alpha (PsiAA) Chapter, Third District, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. met to perform our first Adopt-A-Highway event of the 2021 Omega year. Over the past several years, our chapter has collaborated with the Fairfax County Department of Transportation to help clean up litter along Richmond Highway Corridor in East Fairfax County, VA.

Each year, nearly 18,000 Adopt-a-Highway volunteers collect more than 25,600 bags of waste along Virginia’s highways. The state of Virginia estimates that our assistance contributes to saving the commonwealth over $1.3 M that would have otherwise gone to clean up Virginia’s roads.

The morning was a brisk and somewhat windy day, but the brothers of Psi Alpha Alpha persevered and saw it through. As with all things associated with the current COVID environment, we as a chapter ensured the health and welfare of all participants by compliance with social distancing, practicing good protective behaviors by wearing all appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  Eighteen brothers, as well as two family members, volunteered to come out in support of this important and impactful initiative. All told, we collected thirteen bags of trash and debris. Based on the county’s calculation methodology of (Hours X participants), this equated to 52.5 hours of community service. As we continue to operate in this arduous COVID environment, we as a chapter remain steadfast in our commitment to civic duty through our social action efforts.

MANUP Youth Leadership March 2021

 Youth Leadership Summit

During the month of March 2021, Psi Alpha Alpha | Fairfax Virginia – The MANUP Program executed on a 4-week virtual Youth Leadership Conference series that covered the topics of military readiness, financial strategies, pre-college initiatives, and teen mental health hygiene. The series titled “Under Construction,” exposed students to a comprehensive course series on strategies that will help them discover and build upon their current foundation.

The MANUP YLC partnered with Mount Vernon (MVHS) and John Lewis ( JLHS) high schools in Fairfax County Virginia to host and execute on offering the YLC workshop series to the combined school campuses with 80+ mentees. The YLC series was executed at MHVS from February thru March. The series starts in March and will conclude at JLHS on April 22, 2021.

The military readiness workshop was hosted by Bro. LTC Chester Kelly and Bro. Kenny Cain (Ret.) of the United States Army. They spoke in-depth about their personal military careers, inspiration, and the technical aspects on how to enlist into all branches of service out of high school.
The YLC series included a session on mental hygiene for young adults. This session was led by Bro. LTC Eric Kelly (Ret. USMC) and Bro. Cozy Bailey Jr. The workshop covered topics of bullying, recognizing signs of depression and anxiety, where to get help, who to communicate with, positive releases of stress, understanding the importance of good health, and creating/maintaining positive relationships and environments in your personal circle.

Two of the 4 session series included financial strategies and mental health awareness for teens. The financial strategies session was hosted by Bro. LTC Kevin Williams (Ret. USMC) and Bro. Michael Frazier. They discussed the importance of credit and personal credit scores, in addition, the workshop covered aspects of compound interest, interest rates, retirement strategies, depreciating vs appreciating assets, and the importance of paying your creditors on time. A good portion of the workshop was dedicated on how to establish good credit coming out of high school that included establishing banking accounts. The pre-college initiative workshop discussed SAT/ACT test-taking strategies, finding the right college, and evaluating if college is the right move for you out of high school.

  Mental Health

Fairfax County Virginia | Psi Alpha Alpha – The MANUP Mentoring Program for PsiAA concluded its four-week Youth Leadership Summit at Mount Vernon High School on March 22, 2021. The theme “Under Construction,” concluded with a workshop on teen mental health awareness. The event was hosted by Bro. Eric W. Kelly and Bro. Cozy Bailey Jr. The event covered aspects of normalizing professional therapy through trained and licensed professionals as well as knowing when to ask for help. Bro. Kelly’s takeaways for the 35 student participants from MVHS included asking for help, who to seek help from, and utilizing peer networking to promote a positive atmosphere.

Bro. Bailey Jr. shared important techniques on dealing with anxiety, processing negative feelings and emotions, and creating safe places to discuss feelings with proper and trusted persons. The Youth Summit for MVHS concluded with parting and encouraging words from PsiAA Leadership. Bro. W.J. Williams and Bro. Myron McDaniels gave praise to the MVHS student’s commitment in their attendance over the past four weeks during challenging times.
The MANUP Program is a proud sponsor of the MVHS Football Team. The program has provided pre-game meals for the 50+ youth on two separate occasions. The pre-game meals allowed students to fellowship and receive proper nutrients in preparation for their football games.

ASALH Luncheon 2021

On February 20, 2021, the 2021 marquee event for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) was a virtual event that featured “A Conversation with Dr. Henry Louis Gates and Dr. Evelyn Higginbotham.” The 95th Annual Black History theme is The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.

As a capstone to Black History Month, Bro. Clarence Demory (Pi Gamma 1965) and ASALH Black History Chairman Bro. Nate Ards (Psi Alpha Alpha, 2017) attended the pre-recorded event, which was moderated by Joe Madison, an established Washington DC media personality.

One of the highlights of the evening was the celebration of the latest release in the Black

Heritage Stamp Series. On January 28, 2021, the August Wilson Black Heritage Stamp was unveiled. Wilson was an American playwright, considered a literary trailblazer. His play, “Fences”, set in the 1950s explored the evolving African American experience and examined race relations, among other themes. The play won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 1987 Tony Award for Best Play. Wilson’s play, “The Piano Lesson,” was also a Pulitzer Prize winner.

The primary focus of this virtual marquee event was Dr. Gates’ commentary. He mainly discussed the genesis of his PBS show, “Finding Your Roots…” and his views on the importance of the Black church. Dr. Gates’ curiosity about family lineage stemmed from his grandfather being exceptionally light-skinned with straight hair. He could not figure out how he was the descendant of a grandfather that looked so different than he did. In later years, with the advent of new DNA testing essentially in a tube, Dr. Gates set out to deliver to the average American the type of extensive family lineage revealed by Alex Haley in “Roots.”

Dr. Gates proclaimed the Black church was the oldest, first, and most continuous institution, since 1773, for black American families. The 1773 date establishes the Black church 3 years prior to the Revolutionary War of 1776. He recognized the church as the birthplace of every social, educational, political, and artistic form in our community. It was a “cultural laboratory.” He alluded to the black church being the “Wheel in the Middle of the Wheel” as stressed in the book of Ezekiel.

As an aside, Dr. Gates stressed that even in this digital age, it is important to label hard-copy photographs with names so that young men and women and future generations will have the ability to identify who’s who in those priceless family photos.

The depth of knowledge gained during this event was immeasurable.

PsiAA Stuff the Bus 2021

On February 6, 2021, as the Nation continues to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, the Brothers of the Bernie L. Bates Foundation, Inc., and Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter again committed to uplift two important Food Pantries in Fairfax County - United Community and Koinonia, both in Alexandria, Virginia.

Stuff the Bus began in 2011 in response to a critical need to help restock the shelves of local food pantries after the holidays. In the program’s 10th year, Stuff the Bus is working to meet the increased demand for food due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Two Saturdays were selected this year and buses were parked at 22 locations throughout the county to collect nonperishable food donations for area pantries.

The Bernie L. Bates Foundation and Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter made their donation on Saturday, February 6, 2021, at Island Creek Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia. Our socially distanced donation consisted of 272 nonperishable items to include: Tuna, Soup, Pasta, Mac & Cheese, Fruit, Cereal, Vegetables Dry Beans, Rice, and other items. Mr. Nam Ung, the Fastran bus operator, was impressed and excited to receive our substantial donation.

Since the Capital Area Food Bank Hunger Report 2020 indicated 72,460 people in Fairfax County are experiencing food insecurity, we were humbled to uplift those less fortunate. We look forward to supporting this important project in the coming years.

PsiAA Talent Hunt 2021

On February 6, 2021, due to the unprecedented times that our world is currently facing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Psi Alpha Alpha Annual Talent Hunt Competition looked much different than previous years.  For the first time ever, the Brothers of Psi Alpha Alpha conducted a Virtual Talent Hunt on February 6, 2021.  “It couldn’t be done….” they say, - but with hard work and perseverance, we upheld our Fraternity’s aim by giving the youth in our community a platform to display their talents.

As the virtual curtains opened, the program began at 11am in front of a supportive audience of almost 100 people to include Brothers, family, and friends eager to support a great group of kids displaying their talents in the performing arts.  The showcase, which was attended and recorded via Zoom, featured 10 extremely talented high school students from across the DMV area.  Performances included dance, instrumentation, and vocal renditions.  The collaborative efforts of the Talent Hunt committee yielded a showcase that will be long remembered by the participants, their families, and friends.

This year’s Master of Ceremony was Bro. Darren Haynes (Epsilon Iota Iota '03).  A graduate of Wayne State University earning a BA Degree in Media Arts and Studies, the Emmy

award-winning sports anchor is currently the Sports Director and Main Sports Anchor at WUSA in Washington D.C.  Prior to joining WUSA, he anchored for ESPN’s flagship program, SportsCenter.  Over his career, he has covered major sporting events to include the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals, NASCAR Cup Series Championship, and the World Series.  He worked collaboratively with the committee to facilitate an informative, entertaining, and interactive event.  Bro. Haynes motivated and encouraged the performers as well as kept the audience engaged by providing historical facts about the fraternity, its mandated programs, and the numerous community service activities that Psi Alpha Alpha is involved in throughout the year.

With an extremely close competition this year, the judges had an arduous task selecting a winner but just like our student competitors, they too stepped up to the challenge. This year’s judges were Ms. Christie J. Blackmon, - an accomplished and professionally trained vocalist who had the honor of being requested to sing at a Northern VA rally during President Barack Obama’s initial campaign; Mrs. Stacey Y. Claytor – CEO and Founder of C4 Performing Arts Academy in Fairfax, VA; and Dr. Michael Nickens, Associate Professor of Music and Director of the Green Machine Jazz Band Ensemble at George Mason University.

All the competitors performed admirably and received a certificate of appreciation from the chapter and a monetary prize from the Bernie L. Bates Foundation.  The following students delivered performances that surpassed all others earning them the rankings of first, second, and third place winners.  Taking the grand prize of $1000 and winning first place was Miss Karis Collins, dancer and senior at Wakefield High School.  Winning the second place $500 prize was Mr. Lawrence Wingfield, pianist and junior at Bishop McNamara High School.  In a rare feat, there was a tie for third place between Miss Azariya Bates, dancer and sophomore at KIPP College Preparatory School and Miss Chamir Yarborough, dancer and freshman at Duke Ellington School of the Arts.  Both third-place winners received trophies and the prize amount of $250 each.

Our winner, Miss Karis Collins, a 17-year-old honor student and member of the National Honor Society and Black Student Union, wowed the audience and judges with her dance presentation of “Swan Lake: Odette Variation” by Pyotr

Tchaikovsky.  Karis’ hobbies include dancing, singing, reading, painting, arts & crafts, piano, and community service projects.  She is an athlete excelling in Outdoor Track (High Jump) and a three-year Varsity Cheerleader.  An active member of Grace Community Church in Arlington, Virginia, Karis is well aware that her gifts truly come from God.

Karis will proudly represent Psi Alpha Alpha at the Virtual Talent Hunt Competition during the 88th annual 3rd District Meeting on Saturday, May 22, 2021.

Submitted by:

Bro. Malcolm Murray                         Bro. Titus McGlone

Chairman, PsiAA Talent Hunt 2021 Co-Chairman, PsiAA Talent Hunt 2021

PsiAA Adopt-A-Hwy Oct 2020

On October 3, 2020, the men of Psi Alpha Alpha (PsiAA) Chapter, Third District, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. met to perform our final Adopt-A- Highway event of the 2020 Omega year. Over the past several years, our chapter has collaborated with the Fairfax County Department of Transportation to help clean up litter along Richmond Highway Corridor in East Fairfax County, VA.

Each year, nearly 18,000 Adopt-a-Highway volunteers collect more than 25,600 bags of waste along Virginia’s highways. The state of Virginia estimates that our assistance contributes to saving the commonwealth over $1.3 M that would have otherwise gone to clean up Virginia’s roads.

As mentioned earlier, this was our last cleanup of this Omega year. As with all things associated with the current COVID environment, we as a chapter ensured the health and welfare of all participants by compliance with social distancing, practicing good protective behaviors by wearing all appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Nineteen brothers, as well as two family members, volunteered to came out in support of this important and impactful initiative. All told, we collected fifteen bags of trash and debris. Based on the county’s calculation methodology of (Hours X participants), this equated to 42 work hours of community service. As we continue to operate in this arduous COVID environment, we as a chapter remain steadfast in our commitment to civic duty through our social action efforts

PsiAA Food Bank Sept 2020

Brothers after a great morning of work | Social Action - Food Bank | Sept 2020

On September 12, 2020, the Brothers of Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter, Third District Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. provided their service to the community by leading the effort in participating at the Capital Area Food Bank in Lorton, Virginia. There were 8 Brother and 2 volunteers who enjoyed an early Saturday morning giving back. As the music played throughout the morning, everyone enjoyed the old / new school tunes. The event was a huge success as we were able to package 1,006 bags filled with Pork, peanut butter, veg.soup, tomato soup, cream of mushrooms soup, and Tasteeos cereal.