Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Super Chapter Promotes Healthy Living and Opportunities for Youth at Today's Event

Only The Super Chapter could do it this way. Today, Gamma Pi chapter combined the annual Charles Drew Blood Drive and Health Fair with the monthly gathering of Que Kidz Dayz into one super community Uplift event at The Kentlands Community Center in Landover.

Dental Van at today's blood drive/health fair
A number of people in the neighborhood turned out for the Blood Drive and Health Fair event to take advantage of knowledgeable experts and published literature on health prevention and education. As in previous years, the American Red Cross sponsored a van to accept blood donations on-site. And for the first time ever, Gamma Pi included a Dental Health van on site at the Health Fair. Two dentists in the chapter, Bro. Ed Chappelle, DDS and Bro.Wayman Brown, DDS, helped oversee the operation of the dental van.

Visitors to the Gamma Pi Blood Drive/Health Fair were able to get cholesterol and blood pressure checks, diabetes information, prevention and screening information on many other diseases that afflict minority communities, as well as  nutrition and diet information from on-site representatives and from an array of pamphlets and other publications that they could take home. That of course included the dental information and check-ups available through the van.  The men in the house got a special expert presentation on prostate cancer from a visiting physician. Prostate cancer afflicts African American men (in incidence and mortality) more than any other population group.

Info for the taking
Meanwhile, the youth who participate in Gamma Pi's successful Que Kidz Dayz program were treated to some free golf lessons from chapter Brothers, who assembled the youths into smaller groups on putting greens and a driving range located on the grounds of the Kentland Community Center. The youth, many who are underprivileged, were excited to learn about a non-traditional sport to which they are not always exposed to. Some of the youths from Que Kidz Dayz held a golf club for the first time. Somebody in the bunch could be the next "Tiger"!

Bros. listen to prostate presentation
There was also a youth martial arts demonstration and a Zumba fitness demonstration.

As is often said, this is the side of Omega Psi Phi few people see or acknowledge. All across the world, individual chapters work with local communities to provide Uplift through social service activities and projects that create opportunities and address needs for seniors, youths and needy families. It happens day-in and day-out in Gamma Pi and chapters worldwide, often without any fanfare.

Americans' lives are made better each day by Omega men, but few know it. For example, millions of lives are saved annually because an Omega man, Dr. Charles Drew, discovered blood plasma. It is what Gamma Pi and Omega Psi Phi are preparing to celebrate in a few weeks as the Omega Psi Phi Centennial Celebration approaches.

Congratulations to Bro. Orlando McDowell (Que Kidz Dayz) and Bro. Dr.Kevin Ford (Blood Drive/Health Fair) for organizing today's activities. Below are some video highlights from today's program.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Gamma Pi Hosts Community Seniors at Saturday Afternoon Banquet

A full house at Saturday's program
On Saturday afternoon, June 11, while temperatures outside flirted with 90-degrees, it was warm on the inside of the hearts of close to  100 senior citizens (including some  family) gathered at the Gethsemane United Methodist Church in Capitol Heights. It was the annual Seniors Banquet that the men of Gamma Pi chapter sponsor each June at the church as its way of reaching out to the often-forgotten elderly.

In many African American communities, senior citizens are more economically challenged than their counterparts from other communities and many of them outlive their family and close friends and are sometimes left to fend for themselves with little contact with the outside world.

The Super Chapter's banquet has become a "red letter" day on many Prince George's County seniors' calendars. You would think after more than 20 years of holding the banquet, it would become routine. But every year, the Brothers bring different and new twists to the event, and the atmosphere is always charged. Each year, seniors look forward to it with more and more anticipation and to them, it is like Christmas. One would only have to look at the smiles and laughs spread across the room to know that Gamma Pi was welcomed and embraced. It was also an emotional lift for the seniors, many past 80 years old and struggling with health challenges. In fact, the chapter recognized the oldest woman (95) and oldest man (83) among the audience, both who seemed to be in excellent shape for any age.

Barbara Givens (right) talks to seniors 
For the banquet, Brothers purchased and prepared food on site, waited the seniors' tables, and put on a dynamic program for the seniors that combined the nutritional food with "spiritual food" as well as the everyday "you-need-to-know" information that many seniors appreciate Gamma Pi bringing to their attention each year.  In that regard the program included a stirring sermon on "Raising Your Voice" from keynote speaker and  Gamma Pi's Bro. Rev. Rodney Barnes (video excerpt below), and a presentation on domestic violence and "seniors stalking" from Barbara Givens. She is a local seniors advocate who heads a program in the Bladensburg area. She explained a program that allows elderly persons to "talk through" and "work out" past abuse. Many elderly persons are the target of various kinds of abuse even in their senior years.

Others on the program included Gamma Pi Basileus Bro. Gordon Everett, Second District Chaplain Bro. Dr. Gerald Folsom, Bro. Rev.Tony Lee, Bro. Terry Rogers, who co-chairs Social Action for the chapter, Emcee Bro. Bill Reese and Bro. Dr. George Edwards, who led the music. Bro. Phil Ferguson, a former member of the church who helped put together the program for Gamma Pi for so many years and has now passed on to Omega chapter, was remembered Saturday. The all-Gamma Pi kitchen staff was also recognized headed by Bro. Greg Johnson.

Seniors listening intently
Just to show how much seniors were paying attention yesterday, right at the close of the program after the Benediction had been given, one of the seniors raised a hand and said, "we didn't hear that Omega song." So Bro. Dr. Edwards rose to his feet and quickly assembled the Brothers at the front of the room and the sweet sounds of "Omega Dear" soon filled the place. The seniors were then ready to leave and they went home happy. Gamma Pi never forgets the seniors and the seniors don't forget Gamma Pi.

The Gamma Pi Senior Citizens' Banquet began and was held at the First Baptist Church of Highland Park in Landover by Gamma Pi’s Founders for a number of years. It was later moved by the late Bro. Ferguson to Gethsemane.

Listen to Gamma Pi Brother William Talbert, who was the lead organizer of yesterday's successful banquet, talk on video about the history of the event and explain why Gamma Pi chapter gives time to seniors in the community:

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Unveiling the 64th Second District Conference - SAVE THE DATE

Right now, Omega men across the country are readying for the trek to Washington, D.C. to celebrate and observe 100 years of "blood, sweat and tears" of the World's Greatest Fraternity. But right behind that historic gathering in the birthplace of Omega Psi Phi is something truly special for Brothers of the Second District -- the upcoming 2012 Second District Conference scheduled for the gleaming, new National Harbor complex in Prince George's County, Md.

View of National Harbor
National Harbor is located on the banks of the scenic Potomac River just outside of Washington,D.C. The dates have now been set and Brothers across DelawareMarylandNew JerseyNew York and Pennsylvania are making note of April 26-29, 2012 as "purple letter days."

The 64th Second District Conference is being hosted by Gamma Pi chapter of Prince George's. The Super Chapter long ago started the ball rolling in terms of planning. But now, with the Centennial approaching, a "buzz" is beginning to make its way throughout the Second District in anticipation of what promises to be a truly unique event for Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.The often-heard line is: "Brothers of the Second District have a one-two knockout punch coming with the Centennial this summer...and then the Second District Conference next year."

For Brothers of "2D," gathering to take up Omega's business at the National Harbor will be a fitting way to kick off the "next 100 years" of the Fraternity within the Second District. This venue is classy, interesting, exciting and provides an atmosphere that will make this weekend tailor-made for bringing families and significant others to the Conference. There will be something for everybody to do.

National Harbor at Night ... 
In the coming weeks and months, Brother District Representative Kenneth E. Rodgers and Brother Eddie High, the District Marshal for the conference, will be updating you regularly on details regarding registration, and the agenda. Get yourself "plugged in" now so you don't miss a beat and so you can plan and save for what will be "2D's best-ever District Conference."It will be memorable and you will want to be there for "Ques on the Harbor." Take these steps now to get "plugged in":

Follow Gamma Pi on FACEBOOK (search for Gamma Pi chapter)
Follow Gamma Pi on TWITTER
Follow Gamma Pi on YOU TUBE
Bookmark our new website:
Keep up with Gamma Pi on Gamma Pi LIVE

We will also be publishing a newsletter about the upcoming conference in the near future.

National Harbor is on track to become by the time the conference begins, the premier water-located entertainment and resort complex in the entire Northeast. The backdrop it provides to the upcoming 2012 District meeting -- the first of "the next 100 years" -- is fascinating: dining, shopping, nightlife, comfortable accommodations, sightseeing,  miles of waterfront, and accessibility to the Nation's Capitol on the other side of the river. 

Want to share this exciting information with other Brothers? Just click on the icons below to post to your own Facebook or Twitter accounts or send a blast e-mail out to your contacts.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Member of Gamma Pi's "Cradle of Preachers" Leads Major Youth Anti-Crime Rally in Caribbean Homeland

Bro. Minister Michael Turnbull is one of the newer members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., having entered the Fraternity in '08. As he goes about his way, he can be rather quiet and unassuming until, that is, he is asked to give Brothers a Word from the Lord to close out a meeting, share a Pearl of spiritual wisdom when he has to stand in for the Chaplain, or when he cracks his Bible and speaks to Brothers as part of Gamma Pi's Ques for Christ. Brother Turnbull can get quite animated about the Lord and Omega Psi Phi! He is among Gamma Pi's "cradle of preachers" which includes Second District Chaplain Brother Dr. Gerald Folsom.

Bro. Turnbull speaksto BVI youth
Back home in the British Virgin Islands, a Brisitsh Territory, Bro. Turnbull makes a lot of noise and a lot of people listen. A few weeks ago, Bro. Turnbull led a huge rally ("Stand Out") of young people against crime and for Christ during an event sponsored by the Hope Foundation (BVI) Limited headed by Bro. Turnbull and his brother, Mitch. The rally attracted several thousand youths and a litany of speakers including the country's Minister of Education and Culture, Andrew Fahie.  It was covered by the national media. Here are some news reports: Virgin Islands News Online, VI Platinum News, BVI Beacon.

Bro. Turnbull, in the spirit of the Omega Psi Phi Cardinal Principles of Scholarship and Uplift, joined other speakers from the stage in warning the young people about the dangers of gangs and crime, encouraging them to listen to their parents, directing them to seek lives of purpose, stressing the importance of education, and ultimately leading them to Christ.  The successful rally resulted in some 200 youths signing up for the Hope Foundation's Lion Heart Mentorship Programme.

Below is a video from the rally featuring one of the speakers who is a former "gang banger" in the U.S., as well as several photos, including a couple of shots of Bro. Turnbull "in action."  Click here to send him an e-mail shout out and congratulate him on some great work that makes Omega (and the Supreme Basileus) quite proud!