Saturday, April 27, 2013

Merry Christmas From Gamma Pi - In April

When the call comes in from local organizers to Gamma Pi to participate in the annual Christmas In April project, the Brothers from the Super Chapter answer mightily. The Brothers grab hammers, nails, drills, shovels and even gardening tools and come on the scene ready to help a neighbor in distress with home repairs. It was no different Saturday morning April 27 as the Brothers converged on a home in Capitol Heights, Maryland to help a senior citizen.

Under the leadership of Brother Anthony Kelly, who has organized recent Christmas in April projects for the chapter, Brothers from Gamma Pi helped the family at the residence on Orange Tree Court by installing a backyard ramp, a storage shed and by painting and doing yard work.  More than 30 Brothers showed up throughout the morning. The home for this year's project was not experiencing the kind of disrepair the chapter has seen in recent years. But that is because the initial residence Gamma Pi was scheduled to work on was damaged in an overnight fire and Brothers had to regroup at the last minute to the neat brick Orange Tree Court home. But we are Ques and regrouping on short notice is not a problem.Omega men are adaptable and quick-responding.

Throughout the years, Christmas in April has been an important aspect of Gamma Pi's
social action agenda. Brothers have helped local residents in underserved areas by installing drywall, painting, fixing floors, restoring bathrooms, addressing plumbing issues, cleaning up and removing refuse and even performing some carpentry. Many Gamma Pi men can quickly switch from their professional skill to their "background talent," which covers many of the tasks needed for Christmas in April projects.

As the chapter celebrates its 40th year, it is easy to see why Gamma Pi is a three-time Chapter of the Year and Social Action Chapter of the year winner in the Second District. Another job well done.

Celebrating Precious Seniors Birthdays Omega Style

By Brother Tommie Boone

Seniors gather around food and games
The older you get, the more precious and blessed birthdays become. And on March 27, 2013, the seniors of Windsor Crossing were waiting for the men of Omega Psi Phi (specifically Gamma Pi chapter) to dazzle and entertain in leading the monthly Birthday Bash at the residence. After all, the Brothers of Gamma Pi know how to have a good time and they did not disappoint them. 

The Senior Birthday Bash for March was celebrated with cake, ice cream, and several fun games of B-I-N-G-O.  These games not only blessed them with cash prizes and gift cards, but also blessed the Brothers with lots of smiles and laughter.

Time spent with seniors is gratifying and rewarding. All of us hope to achieve that status one day and often our seniors are forgotten.The seniors expressed their gratitude with hugs, cheers and their eagerness for the next visit.We had a great time and saw firsthand another example of what Uplift is all about. Below are some photos from this afternoon of fellowship and fun with those who paved the way for all of us.

Editor's Note: In recent months the Birthday Bash has been handled by Gamma Pi's newest inductees, Genesis X, which joined the Fraternity in the Spring of 2011.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Helping Young People Grow While Showing Them How to Grow Food

Normally, kids don't like to eat their vegetables. It's just not as much fun as hot dogs, hamburgers, fries and potato chips and ice cream. But let those kids "get dirty" and dig big holes in the ground and then plant seeds in the soil and watch those seeds sprout into carrots, tomatoes and peppers,  and their eyes light up. That was how youth in the Kentland Community reacted today when the Brothers of Gamma Pi kicked off spring with a "groundbreaking" event to demonstrate the concepts of gardening by helping youth plant their own garden. Over the next few weeks, the youth will check on and water their gardens and watch dirt turn to nutritious vegetables.

The youth are part of Que Kidz, a special ongoing monthly outreach and enrichment program for disadvantaged children sponsored by  Gamma Pi chapter. Sister4 Sister, a local social service organization also operating in the county, and Patuxent Nursery, jointly sponsored the April 20 groundbreaking with Gamma Pi. Coincidentally, it was timed with Earth Day which is April 22.

During today's program, the youth were able to out into practice what they have learned in recent months about gardening and healthy eating. Those lessons came to life and they were excited. They ripped open plastic bags of soil and poured the contents into planting sacks. They held tiny seeds in their hands. They dug holes and lowered the planting sacks into the ground and even dded a little water. It became "hands on." The weather was just right for gardening. It was a clear, sunny day with just a little breeze.

The focus of QueKidz this year has been the importance of adding healthy foods and natural foods to the diet to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Along with that lesson, the children, ranging in age from 8 to 13, have been exposed to soil cultivation and where fruits and vegetables come from. Their parents may bring them home from Safeway and Gian and other markets, but they start out as seeds in the ground. A few weeks ago the youth were treated to an exciting field trip to the nearby  Patuxent Nursery.

“Many of the youths in this community have never seen or heard of a garden, and what we hope to accomplish with this project is not only to expose them to gardening, but to heighten their curiosity about things they don’t know about which keeps them yearning to learn,” said Brother Orlando McDowell, organizer of QueKidz and a member of Gamma Pi chapter. “Kentland kids generally do not have the same opportunities to get out and enjoy wholesome learning and enrichment activities on a Saturday morning as do kids in more prosperous communities.” The video segment above is one of several posted on Gamma Pi's YouTube channel.

Martial Arts Expert from Gamma Pi Chapter Helps Youth Win National Competition

You don’t mess with Omega men. Especially when they have a Fourth Degree Black Belt. Brother Marlin Godfrey, possessor of such skill in martial arts, is also one of the best teachers of the Korean-style Kuk Sool Won™ martial arts fighting method and his expertise showed on April 13 when his school, Kuk Sool Won™ of Maryland, took home the Top School Winner in a 5-state competition featuring more than 250 participants that was held in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan last week.

Brother Godfrey, who entered the Fraternity as a member of Genesis X in 2011, is the Chief Instructor for the school located in Dunkirk, Md. The school also won the competition last year. About 50 students from the school made the trip along with a contingent of family and friends from the Washington, D.C. area, who traveled by bus, car and air. In the photo at left, Brother Godfrey waves the championship flag. It was nearly a clean sweep as Brother Giodfrey's school took 6 out of 8 Black belt Grand Championships at the competition. Learn more on the Web. Below are a couple photos from the event. Congratulations to Brother Godfrey and his team for a job well done! And you better bow down or just "duck" when you see him coning.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Gamma Pi Plans Big Summer Kickoff Events

Whether you like to swing on the dance floor or swing on the golf course, Gamma Pi has your ticket into summer with two big fundraising events planned for the month of June. Here is the "411":

Click to Enlarge
Black and White Party with the AKA's
On June 1, the Super Chapter joins forces with the Psi Epsilon Omega chapter of AKA for a Black and White Affair at the Woodmore Country Club in Mitchellville, Md., from 9 p.m.-1 a.m.

In recent years, the Woodmore Country Club has been home to some serious "grown and sexy" summertime bashes combining the memberships and clientele of Gamma Pi and local sorority chapters. All of the events at Woodmore have sold out!. Tickets for the party are$25 in advance and, if there are any left, they will be sold for $30 at the door. Get yours now before the admission price rises and supplies dwindle! Nobody lights the torch for summer like Gamma Pi ... Miss this social opportunity and you might as well go right back into winter hibernation - because you'll definitely be out in the cold!

9th Annual Phil Ferguson Memorial-Charles Drew Scholarship Fund, Inc. Golf Tournament
Every year more than 100 local golfers converge on Andrews Air Force Base courses to join the Brothers of Gamma Pi for this popular golfing event. Each shot -- whether for birdie, bogie or par -- helps fund the scholarship coffers of Gamma Pi and the partnering Friendship Charities Foundation to help send local students to college.

This year, tee time shotgun start is at 8 a.m. on Friday, June 14. Registration opens at 7 a.m. Cost of the tournament is $125 per golfer ($115 for DOD and military).

Even if you can't hang with Tiger Woods, you can enjoy the fun and fellowship and compete for the big trophy or the cash prizes that Brothers will be giving away in droves. Cash prizes will be awarded for such feats as closest to the pin, longest drives and more. Door prizes and "goodie" bags will also be given away. it will be hard to go home empty-handed!

Note: Due to security regulations, all golfers must have a valid driver's license to present for entry.