For generations, it has been the hope of parents that their offspring fare better than they themselves have. This includes educationally, spiritually, emotionally, and financially. This is the American Dream. Yet never before in the history of this country have our young people been more prone to not reach that dream. Our young people’s paths are cluttered with astronomical obstacles that hinder the realization of the American Dream:
- For many of our children, self-esteem is low or nearly nonexistent.
- For many of our children, there is a sense of hopelessness, which creates anger and hostility.
- There is a broadening achievement gap between majority and minority students.
- For many students, there is a lack of role models, positive peer influence, and family structure (nuclear and extended).
- Twenty-five percent of African-American males between the ages of 18 and 25 are involved in the criminal justice system. In fact, it is reported that there are more African-American males in prison than there are in college.
- The suspension rate, per capita, for African-American students is higher than the majority group.
- Many of our children are exposed to violence, drugs, and negative role models, thus causing them to believe that these abnormal behaviors are the norm.
- Many of our children participate in risky behaviors that result in health-related issues (STDs, HIV, etc .) and teen parenting .
The men of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. want to help stem this rising tide of doom and gloom . It is our hope that, by serving as mentors, we can begin to help young men set goals; help them realize that the future belongs to those who are prepared; and be role models who can share their time, resources, and efforts in giving back to our country and community much of what has been given to us.
The goals of this partnership, though lofty, are realistic and attainable. And, when they are reached, our community, schools, and students will be the better for it. The goals of the Men of Q(uality) partnership are as follows:
- Help students raise their level of expectations in the classroom. This will be evidenced in higher grades, higher attendance, selection of higher-level courses, and entry into postsecondary institutions.
- Help students build self-esteem (locus of control).
- Encourage students to set realistic short-term and long-term goals by having them participate in numerous shadowing experiences.
- Help students make a successful transition into postsecondary institutions, the work force, and the military.
- Increase students’ circle of support by becoming supportive, encouraging mentors.
- Increase civic awareness by having students participate in service-learning experiences/volunteerism with community agencies, nursing homes, younger children, etc.
- Develop a mentoring system that increases the exposure of students to successful role models.
- Conduct training sessions in peer mediation, conflict resolution, and decision making/problem solving.
- Develop a programmatic model that can be replicated by other fraternities, sororities, and civic organizations as they adopt/partner with other schools.