Theta Omega Sponsors 14th Annual Life Style Forum for Middle and High School Male Students
On Friday March 19, 2010, more than 650 students and advisors from 25 local schools participated in a ½ day event at the University of Louisville Student Activity Center. The event was the annual Omega Psi Phi fraternity’s Life Style Choices Forum that featured two motivational speakers and nine breakout discussion sessions. The Lifestyle Choices Forum is designed to increase student’s coping skills, improve awareness of factors that impact health & financial success, to teach effective unit transitioning (middle to high school; high school to college), model positive examples of leadership, and visually demonstrate the negative consequences of gangs, violence and drugs participation.
The reverend William McKinley Blackford IV, pastor of More Than Conquerors Christian Church, and Plenary speaker spoke to elder gentlemen as proxy for the youth. Rev. McKinley charged elder males to become the moral compass that points the direction and suggest life purpose for these youth who are in their transition and metamorphosis from boyhood to manhood. It is the moral imperative of each male mentor “to prepare these young boys for battle in intellectual and emotional warfare”. Male mentors must be the standard of strong character, the provider for his home, symbol of authentic masculinity, and must set a life purpose dedicated to something greater than himself.
Rev. William McKinley Blackford IV in SWAG
The youth were then divided into nine groups and assigned to the 1st of two mandatory discussion breakout sessions. The nine discussion session were led by motivational speakers who are experts in the following nine fields of life skills: 1.) Why are We Dying, 2.) The Way In and Way Out-Drugs Gangs & Violence, 3.) Black History-All Over the Place, 4.) Life After High School-Are you Ready?, 5.) Dealing with the Opposite Sex, 6.) Making Paper-The Power of the Dollar, 7.) Are you the Next President Barack Obama, Lebron James or Both?, 8.) The Music, The Media and You, 9.) Transitioning From Middle to High School.
Are you the Next President Barack Obama, Lebron James or Both?
Mr. DeVone Holt, special assistant to the superintendent, was the after-lunch keynote speaker. The forum theme, “GAIN THE SWAG, DISCOVERING YOUR PERSONAL BEST” was explored. Mr. Holt’s theme was based on his life experiences with a high school teacher. Mr. Holt chronicled several of his life achievements against a backdrop of the opinion of a high school teacher who told him, “He would amount to nothing in life”. When Mr. Holt asked the audience, “How many of you have been told that you would be nothing”, roughly ¼ of the audience, including some adults had experienced the same skepticism from a school teacher. DeVone used that negative vote of confidence to his advantage. He adopted the philosophy, “YOUR SKEPTICISM PRODUCED MY ACTIVISM.” He thus believed in himself and overcame the teacher’s skepticism. He admonished the student: “YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO SUCEED AGAINST ALL ODDS—BUT DEEP DOWN YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE THAT YOU WILL SUCEED, YOURSELF.”
Mr. DeVone Holt, Assistant to the Superintendent
DeVone left the group with three questions to ponder:
1) Who will be my master? Your master will be the entity bigger than yourself.
2) Who will be my mate? Proverbs 27:17 is a good basis. Hang with people who are doing the things that you want to do in life.
3) What will be my mission in life? Contemplate, what am I doing here on earth?
DeVone closed with one additional nugget of wisdom: “Poor window dressing can prevent discovery of the jewels inside.” He emphasized, “Young people, Sagging is not going to make it.”
Theta Omega Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity was formed to bring about a union of college men of similar high ideals of manhood, scholarship, perseverance and uplift along with one guiding principle Ophelma Philia Psurkis. Consistent with Biblical teachings, those guiding principles are dedicated to the preservation of the sanctity of the home, the protection of women and the sanctity of the human soul.
Furman Glenn, Ph.D. Editor and Public Relations
Michael Shoulders and Lester Sanders, Forum Organizers