Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Virginia Peninsula raised $45,000 with its signature Bowl For Kids’ Sake events in February.
“This is the first year we have broken the $40,000 mark,” said CEO Ayanna A. King. “We would just like to take a moment and thank the community on behalf of the children we serve.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Virginia Peninsula has offered one-to-one mentoring relationships since 1979 in which a volunteer provides guidance and friendship to a child who needs a positive adult relationship outside of the child’s family. BBBSGVP offers its services to those in Williamsburg, James City County, York County, Poquoson, Gloucester, Hampton and Newport News.
Big Brothers Big Sisters hosted 186 bowling teams at both the Feb. 9 event in Hampton and the Feb. 23 event in Williamsburg.
Grand Prize winners were:
Kevin Lyles won the 42” television donated by Wal-Mart.
Chase Daknis won the overnight stay at Great Wolf Lodge.
Joan Phillips won the overnight stay at the Hilton Garden Inn.
Meredith Springer, who also is a Big Sister, won the 42” TV donated by Wal-Mart.
Everett Lee won the overnight stay at Great Wolf Lodge.
Angie Brown won the overnight stay at the Hilton Garden Inn.
Big Brothers Big Sisters thanked the following sponsors for making the event a success: United Way of Greater Williamsburg; William and Mary MBA; Wal-Mart #6088; Great Wolf Lodge; Coldwell Bank Traditions/Brook Real Estate; Chesapeake Bank; Union First Market Bank; Holiday Chevrolet-Cadillac; King’s Creek Plantation; Sentara Healthcare; BRG Strategy, Inc.; Dr. Wendell Orthodontics; Cullom Eye and Laser Center; Wells Fargo; Waller Mill Elementary School; Magruder Elementary School; Queens Lake Middle School; United Way of the Virginia Peninsula; Phi Beta Sigma of Hampton Roads; Newport News Sheriff’s Office; and the Hampton Sheriff’s Office.
All proceeds from the two Bowl For Kids’ Sake events will be used to support existing programs at Big Brothers Big Sisters. Next year’s Bowl For Kids’ Sake events will be held on Feb. 8 and 22.
Sometimes, when people hear the words fraternities and sororities, their minds and imagine wander. However, such wandering typically drifts towards the stereotypical images portrayed in films such as Animal House, or a situation in which an organization's members are involved in activities ranging from the silly to borderline self-destructive.
However, this is more of an exception than a rule. In fact, a number of such organization in metro-Atlanta aren't merely about having a party or just getting together for a social event. A number are involved in a balance of programs and services designed for community uplift and empowerment. While such news doesn't always come across the 10 o'clock news or other publication, during the past year, a number of the Black Greek Letter fraternities and sororities, including a number of the area chapters, are firmly entrenched in community action.
Fraternities such as Alpha Phi Alpha (established in 1906), Kappa Alpha Psi (1911), Omega Psi Phi (1911), Phi Beta Sigma (1914), and Iota Phi Theta (1963) are grounded in local, state-wide, and even national service oriented programming, all of which are critical focus areas which are part of their establishment. With histories ranging from 49 to 106 years, all have made significant historical and present day contributions in the public and private sector.
Some of the area Alpha chapters provided programs related (but not limited) to career development, support of families during the early portion of the holiday season, male-mentoring, and partnering with other organizations in supporting children who are sick and shut-in during the holiday season. As part of their signature event, one of the metro-area Kappa chapters raised funds for their Guide Right program which provides male-mentoring as well.
While not necessarily a chapter-related program, Chozen Talent Development Agency's leadership (Adam Burch) development of the arts is an example of the larger presence that a number of members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. has in this and fields similar to that of their Alpha and Kappa colleagues. Multiple chapters of Phi Beta Sigma supported the arts and scholarship, Likewise, the area chapter of Iota Phi Theta re-established its series designed for working professionals to meet, greet, network, and establish partnerships grounded in community and business related endeavors.
Likewise, sororities such as Alpha Kappa Alpha (1908), Delta Sigma Theta (1913), Zeta Phi Beta (1920), and Sigma Gamma Rho (1922) provided programs of service and impact during the year to serve the metro-Atlanta area.
Area Alpha Kappa Alpha chapters provides programs related to voter education, and one of its members (Anneka Jenkins) plays a key leadership role with an area non-profit with a focus on womens' empowerment. Some of the area chapters of Delta Sigma Theta provide similar programs in working with young women from the ages of 3 years to 8th grade, providing scholarship opportunities, and a growing standing of support for the arts. Through its signature events to support its reinvestment in the lives of women and young people, as well as initiatives to support teachers, area chapters of Sigma Gamma Rho and Zeta Phi Beta (respectively) are also making their presence felt.
Service, leadership, and community involvement is a way of life for many members of these regarded and respected organizations, as they align with their larger missions, purposes, and rich histories. This, along with providing a sense of balance in regards to social events and community programs, provide such organization a means of further community integration, involvement, and development.
It's not about resting on their laurels. It's about responding to and helping problem-solve given the needs of the community.
Some grassroots efforts are being made in hopes of curbing youth crime in Meridian. One of those efforts involves a local fraternity.
The Meridian Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity is reaching out to boys of all of ages to teach them how to best resolve conflicts.
In response to the spike in youth crimes in recent months, the group is sponsoring its first-ever seminar on the subject this Saturday.
"We felt the need to reach our young people in a different way," says Phi Beta Sigma member Darius Ewing. "Instead of chastising them and whipping them all the time, we need to whip them and encourage them with a little love and teach them how to do things a different way."
As part of the free seminar, experts from the judicial, ministerial, mental and physical health professions will take part.
Then there's the Meridian based Youth Excitement Team (YET) which has a new program called the Peace Project. It's a new character education program that's open to three- and four-year-old children during the summer and after school.
"We teach them what love is all about and to share with their classmates because some of them don't have what the others have," says Sandra Moore, who is the preschool teacher/manager for the Youth Excitement Team. "So, we teach them to love and to share and to be kind to others."
"You have young parents who are teens; they have to grow up quite early and often their kids are not obtaining those skill sets that they need," says YET President, the Rev. Gary Houston.
As part of the Peace Project, parents are required to get involved.
"YET is our team and the parents. We're the cheerleaders, and we try to make sure that the students cross the line academically, socially, just all the way around," says YET Parent Advisory Council President, Rillinda Windham.
"The Bible says if you sow seeds, it's going to come up," says Houston. "So, if you sow the seeds of honesty, respect, and integrity, it's going to come up."
Registration for the YET Peace Project is going on now. For more information call the Youth Excitement Team at (601) 693-0712. The Conflict Resolution Seminar will be held Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Council of Organizations Building, 45th Avenue and 8th Street in Meridian. It's free. Boys of all ages are welcome to attend.
For University of Minnesota alumnus Robert Bailey, Black History Month isn’t just about dates in a textbook.
Bailey, who said he grew up down the street from Martin Luther King Jr. in Montgomery, Ala., and is related to Rosa Parks, was on the University’s campus during the Civil Rights Movement.
“A lot of the young folks may not know what has happened here to get certain programs, and they need to know the price that was paid,” Bailey said.
Black History Month is celebrated throughout February, but some, like Bailey, said the past actions and achievements of black Americans still go unnoticed.
On Friday night, the Black Student Union and the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity held a “Dinner with Legends” to honor those who were part of the Morrill Hall takeover.
On Jan. 14, 1969, about 70 students sat in Morrill Hall for 24 hours in an effort to have their demands for equality heard by the University.
Bailey attended the University during the protest but said he didn’t participate for fear of losing his football scholarship.
“We shouldn’t take for granted what they’ve done for us,” youth studies sophomore and BSU Black History Month Chair Mesgana Tesfahun said of the protesters.
Tesfahun said the Morrill Hall takeover not only led to the creation of the Department of African American and African Studies but also the establishment of departments for Chicano and Latino Studies, American Indian Studies and what is now Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies.
In the past, BSU has recruited civil rights leaders like Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale for the event, but organizers wanted to keep the legend “close to home” this year, Tesfahun said.
BSU started its celebration of Black History Month with its annual kick-off event Feb. 4. It has hosted events throughout the month to inform students and the community about the importance of black history.
“This is important for our campus because we’re on a predominantly white campus,” said Kynesha Patterson, a youth studies senior and BSU president.
Nearly three-quarters of University undergraduate students on the Twin Cities campus this semester are white, according to University data. Fewer than 5 percent were black.
Patterson said most of her professors fail to acknowledge Black History Month. She said the University could do a better job of recognizing it.
Tesfahun agreed and said sometimes professors have felt uncomfortable talking about black history and issues in class.
But she said it’s important that teachers talk about black history because it’s part of American history.
“Throughout our school years, from kindergarten to 12th grade, we’ve learned about white American history,” Tesfahun said. “Let’s flip the script a little bit.”
African American and African studies professor John Wright, who spoke at Friday’s dinner about drafting the demands of the black students for the Morrill Hall takeover, said there’s a divide between educators on teaching black history.
BSU members said they hoped their events this month helped to inform all students about black history, especially what occurred at the University to promote equality.
“There’s a lot of rich history,” Bailey said, “and a lot of untold stories.”
Atlanta custom embroidery clothing store, Zeus’ Closet, and its online sister website most widely known for elaborate fraternity and sorority apparel, S4G.com, have announced a partnership with local non-profit, Without Sole, to collect shoes for the needy.
About a year ago, Without Sole was started by 23 year-old Oluwatoyin Salami, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and 24 year-old Evan Eskridge, a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. Without Sole is a 30-day cause marketing campaign targeting influencers between the ages of 18-30 to collect thousands of shoes to benefit International Charity Soles4Souls®. Shoes collected will benefit thousands of people across the globe to help them attend school and provide footwear to those in need.
In year one, Without Sole successfully collected over 5,500 shoes. This campaign will challenge the city of Atlanta to collect 12K shoes between October 1-30 in various sites around the city. The latest addition to the list of sites is the Greek clothing store, Zeus’ Closet. Located at 1339 Marietta Blvd, in Atlanta. Shoes may be dropped off during the store’s hours of 11am until 7pm Tuesday through Saturday.
Tisean Simmons, customer service manager at stuff4GREEKS.com and Zeus’ Closet says that he was, “Inspired. When Oluwatoyin came to me with this idea, I instantly wanted to get involved and join the movement. The two of them stayed in contact and came up with a great idea to get the local Greek Fraternity and Sorority chapters involved.
Each Atlanta area Fraternity and Sorority chapter willing to participate will collect as many shoes as possible for the remainder of October. Zeus’ Closet has agreed to provide a shiny piece of custom hardware to the winning chapter. The winning chapter will be announced at the SneakerBall – the Without Sole wrap-up event on November 2nd. The Sneaker Ball will be held at 1200 Foster Street, Atlanta Ga 30318. This is an event where attendees are encouraged to be expressive with their attire, but sneakers are required. For more about the Sneaker Ball, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once in a while, honor falls upon the right man at the right time.
For Richmond County’s Elijah Peterson, that perfect alignment was a rainy February night in Salisbury when many came from near and far to witness Livingstone College pay tribute to Peterson by inducting him into the college’s Hall of Fame.
A 1956 graduate of Livingstone College, Peterson is a former educator, child’s advocate, community leader and political activist. For the past 16 years, he has served as chairman of the board for Richmond County Community Support, which serves Richmond, Montgomery and Moore counties.
Peterson was among 14 distinguished recipients being honored at the 12th annual Celebration of Livingstone College Leaders Banquet under the theme, “Share Your Love,” benefiting the United Negro College Fund.
The tribute “recognizes successful leaders for their undying commitment and dedication to others,” said Jimmy Jenkins Sr., Livingstone College president. “This award is being bestowed upon individuals who have given tirelessly of themselves as they serve their communities and/or professions, and have demonstrated the qualities of a servant leader.”
Peterson’s recognition drew a large crowd of supporters to the Event Center in Salisbury including Richmond County Sheriff James Clemmons Jr., former school board chairman Bruce Stanback, and a team of Peterson’s students from Charles Drew High School in Madison, where he taught 52 years ago.
Carrie Peterson, his wife of 54 years; their three daughters, Clairice, Valerice and Laurice; and his brother, Robert; as well as other family members and friends were there to witness this special occasion in Peterson’s life. He was the only recipient to receive a standing ovation.
Prior to the event, Peterson was the guest of honor at a reception at a local hotel, where he was showered with kind and loving words.
The honoree gives credit to his parents, Mary and Pearlie Peterson, for instilling in him a moral obligation to serve others. “They also modeled their behavior in accordance with the belief that real servants finish their tasks, fulfill their responsibilities, keep their promises and complete their commitments,” he said. “They don’t leave a job half done, they don’t quit when they get discouraged. They are trustworthy and dependable.”
He also credits Livingstone College, where he entered as a freshman at age 16, for providing the foundation for his educational and professional life. After graduating from Livingstone College with a bachelor’s in mathematics, Peterson continued his education at North Carolina A&T State University, where he earned a Master of Science degree in 1961, and a Master of Arts degree in chemistry in 1965.
He was awarded a special certification in physics by the University of North Carolina in 1962 and was one of the first to be selected for certification to teach modern physics. This curriculum was designed to prepare students to understand research being performed by the NASA Space Program.
Every year during his 13 years of teaching physics, Peterson was invited to attend seminars in order to receive updates on the successes and failures of each space launch.
As an educator, Peterson served as a teacher and principal. He taught math, chemistry and physics in three different high schools including Peabody in Troy, Booker T. Washington in Reidsville and Charles Drew.
For 26 years, he served as principal of five different schools including Cameron Morrison State Training School for Boys in Hoffman and Samarkand Manor for Girls in Eagle Springs.
The accolades bestowed upon Peterson are as long as his distinguished career. Highlighting the list are Principal of the Year in 1986 and North Carolina Citizen of the Year in 2012 by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity; although he is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity.
Additionally, many of his awards came through service appointments. In 1976, North Carolina Governor James B. Hunt appointed Peterson to his Advocacy Council on Children and Youth, where he served for 26 years. In 1989, Gov. Jim Martin appointed him chairman of the same and he held that position for eight years.
At that time, the Daily Journal wrote, “Pete Peterson believes in people and he believes in children. We commend Governor Martin for appointing him as North Carolina’s top child advocate.”
Under his leadership, Richmond County Community Support Center has funded services in excess of $8 million.
“We are elated that you are receiving honors befitting the great work that you have done in our community and communities throughout North Carolina,” wrote the executive board and staff of Richmond County Community Support Center to Peterson. “We, too … honor you and give you the highest recognition to all that you have accomplished.”
He has also served as chairperson of the Eighth Congressional District of the N.C. Democratic Party; state chairman of the Black Leadership Caucus; on the board of trustees for Montgomery Community College; is a life member of the NAACP; and trustee board chairman for Mt. Zion United Church of Christ.
In his unselfish and humble nature, Peterson did not accept full credit for his accomplishments. “I am extraordinarily grateful for all the encouragement and support I have received from the wide range of individuals I interacted with while carrying out my life’s work. In the words of the English poet, John Donne, ‘No man is an island.’”
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. will return to their roots next week as they bring Kappa Delta Reloaded to VSU for their 2013 Greek week. The boys in blue will provide an accompanying mixtape to complement their annual week. “Everything we do, we do for the people,” Brandon Menner, vice president, said. “For this reason, Phi Beta Sigma is considered the ‘People’s Frat’ to many.” The Sigmas will begin KDR with The Sitdown. Students are encouraged to join the Sigmas at 11 a.m. at Serenity Christian Church followed by lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings. Ten percent of each patron’s bill will be donated to the No Kid Hunger philanthropy. On Monday the Sigmas will get the campus involved with a cookout with the women of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Palms Quad. The Sigmas will them give VSU students a chance to watch “Flight,” starring Denzel Washington at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Theater. On Tuesday, there will be an STD awareness table on the pedestrian walkway from noon until 2 p.m. That evening, in collaboration with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Sigmas will present The American Dream, a Hollywood Squares type event, in the UC Magnolia Room from 7p.m. to 9 p.m. “Our week’s plan is to give back to the people, be “The People’s Frat,” chapter President Aaron Howard, said. On Wednesday morning, the Sigmas will host a breakfast give-a-way from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on the pedestrian walkway. Spring break is around the corner, and Sweatin’ Bullets is a part of the final stretch. The event will feature D&T Personal Fitness and the women of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Ballrooms. On Thursday, the Deep Release Poetry Society and Media Arts Geniuses will collaborate with the Sigmas to bring “Poetic Justice.” “Perhaps the event I am most excited about will be our “Poetic Justice” poetry event,” Menner said. The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. in Jennett Lecture Hall. Admission for Poetic Justice will be $1 or canned good item. The Sigmas will Set it Off on Friday with a cookout and flag football game from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on the front lawn with the men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Friday will end with a fundraiser at CiCi’s Pizza from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The week will conclude with a morning of giving back to the Valdosta community with an adopt-a-highway cleanup at 10 a.m.
After a long week and a day of service, take a load off at the Student Recreation Center. The men of Phi Beta Sigma and Exclusive Models will host a pool party from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. “The student body will learn during our week that we do all of what we do for them,” Howard said. “Respect is a two way street. Without the support and respect of the students, a fraternity can die off of a college campus very quickly. We thank Valdosta State and all of the organizations that have been down to contribute to our cause, and it’s time to pay them back.” All events are open to the student body. For more information, visit the Kappa Delta Sigmas Facebook page or follow them on Twitter and Instagram @KD_Sigmas
The Grand Bahama chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity under the direction of president Adrian Carey and advisor Rev. Reno Smith has recently announced it will once again extend its hand of charity to those in need within the community of Grand Bahama and The Bahamas.
The fraternity has decided this year to lend its support to the Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation and raise funds during its annual 'Dollar Day' fund-raising Drive.
According to Rev. Smith due to the fraternity's late start this year as it regards its fund-raising efforts, two drives will be held within the Grand Bahama community, with the first beginning this Saturday, February 23 and next Saturday, March 2.
"The Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity here on Grand Bahama will endorse the Sir Victor Sassoon Heart Foundation with their project to help repair the many little hearts across The Bahamas.
"We will once again host our annual 'Dollar Day Drive' beginning this Saturday, February 23 at 8:00 a.m. at the intersection of Coral Road and East Sunrise Highway however due to the fraternity getting off to a late start in its fund-raising efforts this year we intend to host a second 'Dollar Day Drive' on the corners of Pioneer's Way and the Mall Drive on Saturday, March 2.
"I have been reliably informed by Ingrid Sears, PR Officer of The Heart Ball Committee that it takes at least $250,000.00 a year to assist various families across The Bahamas in receiving heart surgeries for their young children.
"Therefore all the officers and members of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity thought it most proper and fitting in spite of what Grand Bahama is going through to lend our support to the foundation and its efforts.
"We are a resilient people here on Grand Bahama and we know how to give through our own needs so we are asking members of the public to please come out and support us as we try to help the many little hearts of children across this country that are in need of surgery," Rev. Smith said.
On hand for the announcement was little Jordan Carey, one of the poster children for the Heart Ball Committee along with his mother and grandmother, Joretta and Mildred Roberts respectively.
Jordan affectionately called little Elmo by members of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, underwent an open-heart surgery at the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in November 2011 thanks to financial assistance rendered by the Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation.
His mother Joretta revealed had it not been for the foundation her now happy and healthy two year old, may not have been able to receive the much needed surgery.
"Jordan was able to undergo heart surgery which was funded by the Sir Victor Sassoon Heart Foundation.
"Should we have had to come up with the money for the surgery, it could have ranged between $200,000.00 and $ 250,000.00 but thankfully due to the foundation funding surgeries for children every year, the agreements in place with the hospitals and doctors to offer these surgeries at a discounted rate, which can range between $25,000.00 to $60,000.00 per child Jordan and many other children were able to receive the care they need. "Each person throughout the length and breadth of the Bahamas can also do their part in making contributions to the foundation. "You may not be able to give $250.00 but you can donate as little as $5.00 to $10.00 or any amount you may see fit to this cause. "This is an awesome opportunity for the general public to give back to children which could very well be our own neighbors, sons, daughters, nieces, nephews and cousins. "Oftentimes Bahamians tend to give to persons abroad and of course there is nothing wrong with that but charity does begin at home and end abroad, so I encourage the public to support the Phi Beta Sigma's 'Dollar Day' Drive and log on to the sassoonheartfoundation.org to learn more about the organization and extend your charitable contributions even further," said Roberts. Additionally fraternity president Carey stated, "Phi Beta Sigma is an organization that is devoted to service to humanity and boosting the civic consciousness of our country. "Again we are proud to endorse this project as it is our civic duty and last year we would have conducted our Dollar Day Drive of which the community was extremely supportive of and we say thank you. "One hundred percent of the proceeds raised will go directly to the Sir Victor Sassoon Heart Foundation so we encourage the public to once again partner with us and support both drives."