Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated (ΩΨΦ)
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated is an international fraternity and was the first African-American national fraternal organization founded at a historically black college. Omega Psi Phi was founded on November 17, 1911, at Howard University in Washington, D.C. by three undergraduate students and their faculty advisor. The Founders were Howard University juniors Edgar Amos Love, Oscar James Cooper, and Frank Charles Coleman, and faculty advisor Dr. Ernest Everett Just. Each of the Founders distinguished himself in his chosen career: Bishop Edgar Love, became Bishop of the United Methodist Church; Dr. Oscar Cooper, was a prominent physician who practiced in Philadelphia for over 50 years; Professor Frank Coleman, was the Chairman of the Department of Physics at Howard University for many years; and Dr. Ernest E. Just was a world-renowned biologist.
From its inception, Omega Psi Phi has worked to build a community of high achieving, like-minded African-American men dedicated to its Cardinal Principles of Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance, and Uplift. Omega Gents Youth Mentoring is a program that exemplifies these principles.
Omega Gents Youth Mentoring Program (Omega Gents)
The Omega Gents Youth Mentoring Program was established by Sigma Iota Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and is facilitated in partnership with Alpha Rho Chapter. The Omega Gents Program is designed to teach and encourage young African-American men in middle and high school to positively define, plan, pursue and achieve their goals.
The Program includes several educational workshops and outings, an Academic Enrichment Symposium, local college campus visits and tours, community service projects, career visibility/development outings, and social and recreational outings.
Our formal program occurs during the traditional academic year, from September to June. The official commencement for the Program year is the Annual Youth Mentoring Camping Trip, which is held in conjunction with other Northern California Chapters of Omega Psi Phi that sponsor youth mentoring programs.
Young men who participate in the Omega Gents Program benefit by experiencing personal development essential to their long-term success. They develop academically, socially and emotionally. They grow through various support services and exposure to new and positive experiences that reinforce critical life skills. Omega Gents also develop a sense of community by participating in a wide range of service projects. They build confidence necessary to visualize, believe, and pursue their dreams. Finally, Omega Gents complete their program with a network of peers and friends to provide continued support.
Educational Workshops / Academic Performance Monitoring / Tutoring
Educational workshops are conducted twice monthly on Saturdays for 2 hours. Workshops follow a structured format involving a topical presentation and an open discussion, followed by group exercises to ensure understanding of the lesson.
Topics covered during educational workshops include, but are not limited to:
- Self Esteem
- Goal Setting & Planning
- Academic Achievement & College Preparedness
- Developing Positive Relationships
- Etiquette & Respecting Women
- Financial Literacy
- Health & Well-Being, including Sexual Health & HIV/AIDS Education
- Proper Use of Social Media
- Career Identification and Development (resume writing, interview skills, dress for success)
As Scholarship is a Cardinal Principle of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, we expect the full engagement and commitment of each Omega Gent and their parents and/or guardians in the pursuit of academic excellence throughout the school year. To that end, each Gent’s academic standing is recorded during the application process and ongoing academic and classroom performance is monitored throughout the school year. This includes, but is not limited to, regular and mandatory submission of official academic transcripts, progress reports, and academic work plans.
Tutoring services in English, mathematics, science and history are offered weekly to all Omega Gents, including on days of regularly scheduled Omega Gent educational workshops or other events. ALL Omega Gents are required to attend at least two tutoring sessions per month.
An Omega Gent’s failure to submit mandatory academic reports (academic transcripts, progress reports and academic work plans) and/or failure to attend tutoring sessions will subject them to limited privileges and access to other aspects of the Omega Gent Program (e.g., college visits, career days and job banks, community service projects, and social/recreational outings). This also could result in possible dismissal from the Omega Gents Mentoring Program at the sole discretion of the Omega Gents Youth Mentoring Leadership Team.
Academic Enrichment Symposium (AES)
The purpose of the AES is to provide Gents and parents/guardians important information regarding college admissions criteria, guidance on how to become a competitive college applicant, and how to find and apply for financial assistance. The day-long symposium features presentations on California’s A-G requirements, SAT & ACT preparation, financial aid application processes, time management, personal portfolio creation, and one-on-one counseling with professional resources. At the end of the event, Gents are given a personal portfolio binder and additional materials to start their journey.
College Campus Tours
Gents are exposed to college life at local Bay Area and regional colleges and universities. Campus visits may include meeting with admissions officials, counselors, and students active in organizations such as the Black Student Union. A student-led tour of the campus, lecture halls and sports facilities also may be included. Gents may have an opportunity to visit individual schools/colleges at the universities (i.e. Communication, Business, Arts and Sciences, etc.) and ask questions about possible areas of interests.
Career Days/Corporate Visits
The Omega Gents Youth Mentoring Leadership Team works with local business executives to periodically schedule career days and corporate visits to Bay Area companies. In addition, some workshops may include topics as resume writing skills, interview and presentation skills, pre- and post-interview communications planning, and appropriate business and professional attire recommendations.
Community service is a cornerstone of Omega Psi Phi’s existence. It is reflected in our Cardinal Principle of Uplift. The Omega Gents Youth Mentoring Program itself is an example of our commitment to our community. Accordingly, we want to instill this value in the young men we mentor and teach them, through their own personal experience, that they can make a difference in their community. Prior Gents community service projects have included providing turkeys for families in need at Thanksgiving, cleaning local parks in West Oakland on Earth Day, food collection for the Alameda County Food Bank, supporting Children’s Hospital’s Sickle Cell awareness events, and participating in the Beth Eden Baptist Church Christmas Party for children.
Social and recreational outings have included events such as bowling, movie night, college and professional sporting events, paintball, a weekend camping trip, and our formal Purple & Gold Scholarship Ball. While all of our events are well attended and receive great feedback, the weekend camping trip is the most popular!
Big Brother / Little Brother Connections Program
We have learned through experience that regular engagement between a Mentor (a Brother of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity) and an Omega Gent is helpful in the positive development of the Omega Gent. As such, each Omega Gent will have a dedicated Big Brother to engage. Mentors are directed to engage their Omega Gent at least once a week, be it via a phone conversation, text messaging and/or other forms of social media, and/or in person.