I recently had the pleasure and opportunity to volunteer with Michael Bennett at the annual LINK Thanksgiving Food and Clothing distribution events on November 19. Mike and his fraternity brothers were from the Sigma Mu Mu Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. About twenty Omega men had come out to Christ the Redeemer Catholic in Sterling to either load groceries into the vehicles of needy families or escort the LINK guests through the makeshift supermarket inside the church. One of the Omega men, Frank Simmons toured the other churches hosting events and was gracious enough to take some excellent photographs.
The Sigma Mu Mu Chapter was chartered this past summer to serve the Loudoun community. According to Mike, the majority of their members live, work and worship in Loudoun County. The chapter was serving LINK as part of their Omega Day of Service which was the last event of their Achievement Week Observance. The highlight of the observance was an Achievement Week Brunch that featured an address by former U.S. Astronaut and current NASA Administrator, Charles Bolden (an Omega Brother). Amongst other awards, Sigma Mu Mu awarded Donna Fortier, Inova Loudoun Hospital Community Affairs Executive and Director of Mobile Health Services (Mobile Hope) their Purple and Gold Community Service Award.
Mike informed me that Sigma Mu Mu is currently seeking partnerships with organizations in Loudoun like LINK and the Good Shepherd Alliance to expand their programs and service to the community. Mike, Frank and I look forward to meeting again soon to continue our discussion on how we can build more mutually rewarding relationships inside Loudoun County.
About Omega Psi Phi
Omega Psi Phi (ΩΨΦ) is the first African-American national fraternal organization to be founded at a historically black college. Omega Psi Phi was founded on November 17, 1911, at Howard University in Washington, D.C. The founders were three Howard University juniors, Edgar Amos Love, Oscar James Cooper and Frank Coleman, and their faculty adviser, Dr. Ernest Everett Just. Each of the founders graduated and went on to have distinguished careers in their chosen fields: Bishop Edgar Amos Love became Bishop of the United Methodist Church; Dr. Oscar James Cooper became a prominent physician, who practiced in Philadelphia for over 50 years; Professor Frank Coleman became the Chairman of the Department of Physics at Howard University for many years; and Dr. Ernest E. Just became a world-renowned biologist. The fraternity has worked to build a strong and effective force of men dedicated to its Cardinal Principles of Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance, and Uplift. Omega Psi Phi consists of both undergraduate and graduate Chapters. Chapters are required to administer these programs annually:
Originally designed to promote the study of Negro life and history, Achievement Week is observed in November of each year and is designed to seek out and give due recognition to those individuals at the local and international levels who have made a noteworthy contribution toward improving the quality of life for black Americans. A High School Essay Contest is to be held in conjunction with Achievement Week. This contest is open to all college-bound high school seniors. College scholarships are awarded to the winners, each of whom must submit an essay on a theme/topic chosen by the fraternity. This contest is a phase of the International Achievement Week observance.
The Scholarship Program is intended to promote academic excellence among the undergraduate members. Graduate chapters are expected to provide financial assistance to student members and non-members. A portion of the fraternity’s international budget is allocated to scholarships through the Charles R. Drew Scholarship Commission.
SOCIAL ACTION PROGRAMS
All levels of the fraternity are expected to facilitate, participate and coordinate activities that will uplift their communities. An international committee will coordinate the multifaceted programs of the various chapters. Some of the activities under the umbrella of social action include, but are not limited to: voter registration, education and “getting out the vote”; Assault on Illiteracy; Habitat for Humanity; volunteering time to charities and less fortunate individuals; mentoring; and participation in fundraisers for charities such as American Diabetes Association, United Way, Sickle Cell Anemia, etc.
TALENT HUNT PROGRAM
This program provides exposure, encouragement and financial assistance to talented young people participating in the Performing Arts. Winners of the competition are awarded recognition for their talents. Awards may include college scholarships.
March 12th of each year has been established as Memorial Day. Chapters are expected to conduct an appropriate service to recall the memory of those members who have entered into Omega Chapter.
RECLAMATION AND RETENTION
A concerted effort at the international, district and local levels to retain active brothers and return inactive brothers to full participatory status so that they may enjoy the full benefits of Omega.
COLLEGE ENDOWMENT FUND
Each year the fraternity gives at least $50,000.00 to Historically Black College Institutions (HBCU) in furtherance of Omega’s commitment to provide philanthropic support. Chapters are assessed donations based on chapter size.
All levels of the fraternity are expected to facilitate, participate and/or coordinate activities that will uplift their communities by promoting good health practices. An international committee will coordinate and facilitate multifaceted programs of the various chapters, districts, etc. It is anticipated that all local chapters will execute the health directives at the local level. Some of the programs under the umbrella of Health Initiatives are the Charles Drew Blood Drive (normally held in June), AIDS/HIV Awareness, and the American Diabetes Association Partnership. This does not prevent the local chapters from performing additional health initiatives under the umbrella of the Health Initiatives mandate.
VOTER REGISTRATION, EDUCATION AND MOBILIZATION
All levels of the fraternity are expected to facilitate, participate and/or coordinate activities that will uplift their communities through the power of the vote. An international committee will coordinate and facilitate multifaceted programs of the various chapters, districts, etc. It is anticipated that all local chapters will execute the directives at the local level. This does not prevent the local chapters from performing additional voter initiatives under the umbrella of the Voter Education, Registration and Mobilization mandate.
Every district and chapter of the fraternity is required to maintain a Life Membership at Large in the NAACP. In the event that a chapter or district is not a life member of the NAACP, it must maintain a yearly membership to be in Good Standing with the fraternity. Furthermore, all members of the fraternity are strongly encouraged to become members of the NAACP.
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