Alphas announce male youth programs

Published 12:34 am Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Rho Epsilon Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. in Natchez, announces a new mentoring program and its second annual Alpha Boot Camp (ABC), both for boys in grades 3-12.

The mentoring program, called “After 5: Boys in Ties,” will be from 6 to 7 p.m. on first and third Thursdays at the Natchez Freshman Academy in the former Central Alternative School on Lynda Lee Drive.  There is no cost to participate.

After 5 responds to a common need, whether identified by self or others; it is the simple need to have a mentor.  Having a mentor is not always a response to despair, but a mentor can give direction on career options and other important life decisions.  John C. Crosby, a 19th-century U.S. congressman, made a statement on mentoring that applies today in the 21st century.

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Crosby said, “Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.”

The men of Alpha want to do just that with a touch of their widely-known distinction. The fraternity members will teach the boys how to tie neck and bow ties on the first day of the program for each boy. From that day forward, the ties will symbolize distinction and commitment to the program after 5 p.m. on first and third Thursdays and during formal outings.

Fraternity members will work with the boys on life and academic skills.

The chapter rolls out the mentoring program before school ends to help get the boys comfortable with the schedule and requirements.

The program will play a double role: serve as a feeder into the chapter’s annual summer Alpha Boot Camp (ABC), scheduled for June 12–14 at the Natchez Freshman Academy, and will be a year-round option for parents and community members seeking mentors for male children and for boys wanting a mentor.

From Monday, June 12 to Wednesday, June 14, the Chapter returns with its ABC.  The cost is $25, which includes a T-shirt. Lunch will be provided on site. The deadline to register is May 31. Registration forms are at schools in the Natchez-Adams School District where the chapter is a partner in education and at area grocery stores and fitness centers.

The ABC gives participants an introduction to or a boost in several skills.  This year’s offerings include: Project Alpha and Go to High School, Go to College, both national programs of the fraternity, Dressing for Success, Financial Skills, 3rd Grade Reading Test prep for rising third graders, ACT English test prep and the writing component, Fitness, and Career Planning.

An added bonus this year is an all-expense paid ($400 value) three-day trip for four ninth through 12th-grade students who attend all three days of the camp. The trip is to Alcorn State University for the inaugural Mississippi Alpha Network’s Youth Leadership Development Institute. There, students will further enhance their leadership skills and network with fellow high school students from across the state.

Since 1906, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. has been an investor in education, example of leadership, and advocate for communities through the fraternity’s aims of “manly deeds, scholarship, and love for all mankind;” After 5 and ABC will continue that legacy.

The Fraternity’s mission is to develop leaders, promote brotherhood and academic excellence, while providing service and advocacy for our communities.

We want to continue to do our part as advocates for our communities.  There is no time to sit back and see a need and not respond.

If anyone would like to donate neck or bow ties to After 5, ties can be dropped off at Braden Administrative Office at 10 Homochitto St.  If anyone desires to donate funds to either program, donations can be mailed to: Rho Epsilon Lambda Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 921, Natchez, MS 39121.

If there are any questions, contact Steven Richardson at 601-445-2843 or email the chapter at
Steven Richardson is the president of the Rho Epsilon Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.