Kavansa B. Smith Memorial Scholarship Recipients

RICHMOND, Virginia, Thursday June 7, 2018, this was a banner year for Upsilon Nu’s Kavansa B. Smith Memorial Scholarship. We had tremendous interest from students for our annual scholarship. We received scholarship applications from seniors across the Greater Richmond area. The Upsilon Nu Scholarship and Social Action Foundation Upsilon Nu Scholarship Committee are proud to announce that in April 2018 they awarded $12,000 in scholarships to high school seniors who are college bound in the fall of 2018 academic year on behalf of the Kavansa B. Smith Memorial Scholarship program.

“This year we had 38 recipients apply for our scholarship. 24 girls and 14 boys in 2017, we continue to try and work our relationships with high schools counselors to encourage more students to apply. These funds will help reduce some of the financial burden of pursuing higher education and assist in the dreams of these young people”, stated Scholarship Committee Chairman Bro. Stephen Wilson. The increase in the number of young men is noteworthy.

Upsilon Nu laid out the red carpet for its 2018 Scholarship recipients, the recipients were recognized by members of the chapter. They were welcomed by Basileus Michael Swain whom gave them words of encouragement and thanks. Scholarship Chairman Bro. Stephen Wilson welcomed the recipients and their parents to the program and thanked them for their participation. Bro. Wilson recognized Ms. Kendra Johnson, a scholarship recipient in  2008-09, whom attended Hampton University and is now pursuing her Doctorate in Education at Virginia Common Wealth University. He also recognized Ms. Keisha Smith, the daughter of Bro. Kavansa B. Smith for whom the scholarship is named. Ms. Smith gave a very heartfelt thanks and congratulated the recipients of this year’s scholarship awards.

Bro. Fred Shuford provided a seminar on “Time Management, Preparing for College and Tips” on the adjustments to college life. He stressed to the recipients, they should plan on studying at least 25 hours a week.

“We wanted to recognize and celebrate the 2018 scholarship winners' academic achievements and community service, a reception was held to formally introduce the awardees to the chapter. This allows us to publicly display our fraternity's cardinal principle of scholarship. In addition we wanted the awardees to meet one another and begin an academic network”, stated Bro. Wilson. We wanted to emphasize to them the importance of scholarship and that their hard work, perseverance and commitment to service was being rewarded.

The following Colleges and Universities will enroll our scholars in the fall.

 

 

Name                                    High School                        College Attending

Parker Watts                         James River                          Barnard College at Columbia University

Lauren Taylor Parker           Henrico High                       University of Virginia

Drew Acquaye                     Trinity Episcopal                  University of North Carolina

Nyla Jones                           Richmond Community         Clarke Atlanta University

Jordan Anderson Murray     Highland Springs                 North Carolina A&T

Tyrone Nelson Jr                 Highland Springs                 VCU Integrated marketing Cinema

Jordyn Walters                     Meadowbrook                      James Madison University

Marlin L Osborne Jr            Richmond Community         Randolph Macon College

Milleena McNeil                  Midlothian                            Virginia Tech

Ria Holloman                       Hermitage                             North Carolina A&T

Article by Bro. Michael Edwards                                     Pictures by Bro. Daren Exum

Upsilon Nu Supports Relay for Life 2018

NORTH CHESTERFIELD, Virginia, Clover Hill High School, June 1, 2018. The Upsilon Nu Chapter has continued its ongoing support of the Relay for Life for the 10th year.  This commitment is far more than a photo opportunity as the team achieved Gold status this year, raising over $5000.00 for this year’s event and a cumulative total of over $45,000 in ten years of active participation in Relay for Life.

Brother Freager Sanders, Team leader, has been actively involved with Relay for Life since 2003 and has personally raised over $75,000 for cancer research.

Upsilon Nu has established itself as a great team.  Ms. Adrienne Rich from the American Cancer Society commented “We can tell when Omega Psi Phi gets here!  They always bring positive energy”!

A total of twelve (12) Upsilon Nu Brothers participated from start to finish as others came by to offer support..  Special thanks to wives Sherry Sanders and Gayzelle Thomas for their support.

First time participant, Brother Roderick Walker said, “This is a great event! We are able to fellowship and support a great cause”.

Brothers Ray Fitts and Michael Swain used this as an opportunity to make it cross fit training, doing sets of push-ups and squats.

Brother Donald Bentley, a Survivor, provided inspiration for each Brother in attendance and serves as a reminder to ensure you are getting your scheduled prostate exams.

 

Article by Bro. Freager Sanders                                       Pictures by: Bro Jarome Jackson

Upsilon Nu Supports Adopt-A-Street

RICHMOND, Virginia, Upsilon Nu conducted it’s quarterly Adopt-A-Street clean-up program in downtown Richmond. Upsilon Nu has been conducting this program for over ten years.

The Adopt-A-Street is designed to help clean up Richmond. Individuals, organizations and businesses adopt a street, intersection, lot, park, most anywhere. The participants agree to keep the area cleared of litter for at least two years. The program is a partnership between the city of Richmond and it’s merchants, organizations and residents.  The Adopt-A-Street program creates a cleaner, more pleasant environment for everyone who lives, works and shops in the adopted areas.

The program also strengthens community ties as neighbors and merchants work together to keep Richmond clean. Many times Brothers have brought members of their families to participate in the clean-up. “It is good for our children to see these types of efforts and community give back”, says Bro. Johnson, a member of the committee. Upsilon Nu as part of it’s commitment to this program has adopted two streets, 2nd Street and West Duval Street.                      

 

Article by Bro. Michael Edwards                               Pictures by  Jerome Jackson

Upsilon Nu Supports Mobile Truck

RICHMOND, Virginia, Thursday, May 24, 2018, Upsilon Nu continued its partnership with Mobile Food Truck to feed members of the Churchill Hill Community. This program is conducted bi-monthly by the chapter. Upsilon Nu helps unload the food trucks, set-up food stations and assists in the distribution of food to those in the community.

This community effort normally provides several hundred families with an assortment of food items that includes canned vegetables, meats, soup, crackers and personal hygiene products. Most of those in line are women with their children and we are seeing more elderly as well, The Brothers arrived at the site at 10:30 am and normally finish at 1pm or until the food supplies are exhausted. Today we provided food for over two hundred families (200) before our donated food supplies were depleted.

The food distribution program fills a vital need for so many in the Richmond community whom are having difficult times economically. “I feel so blessed that this program exists and helps me and my family” stated one of the participants. It is just hard sometimes and food cost so much, this really is a blessing. These sentiments were held by most in attendance. Though this event is held during the middle of our work day, I am gratified to see the Brothers rearrange their work schedule where they can to come out and support he community like this,” stated chapter Basileus Jeff Tarpley. For us it is gratifying to be known and accepted by the community.

Submitted by Bro. Michael Edwards                               Pictures by Bro. Jerome Jackson

Upsilon Nu Feeds Less Fortunate

RICHMOND, Virginia, Saturday May 12, 2018 Upsilon Nu Chapter continues its partnership with 2nd Street Baptist Church to support “Feed the Less Fortunate” program. Upsilon Nu has continued its affiliation with this much needed community outreach effort. Feed the Less Fortunate program has served lunches to hundreds of area residents. The program serves not only the homeless, but many that are economically challenged or just

need a healthy hot lunch. The Upsilon Nu affiliation of the program is conducted on the 2nd Saturday of each month. The members of Upsilon Nu arrive at 10am for set-up, assisting with the cooking and stay to the conclusion at 1:00pm.

 

Upsilon Nu not only distributes healthy lunches, but also makes it a point to sit and talk with those that come to take advantage of the food program. All of the people that come through the program have a story; most of them are middle aged men but we are starting to see a younger group as well and more diversity. “We look forward to seeing these men come out, they always have a kind word,” stated Basileus Bro. Jeff Tarpley

Submitted by Bro. Michael Edwards                            Pictures by Bro. Michael Edwards

Upsilon Nu’s St. Jude Support Continues

RICHMOND, Virginia, Sunday, February 4, 2018, The Brothers of Upsilon Nu chapter came out to answer the call from the District Representative Kevin Brown. Thanks to the efforts of Brother Michael Swain who set up our webpage and kept the Brotherhood constantly updated with our fundraising efforts. We also thank Brother Jeff Tarpley the 3rd District coordinator appointed by 3rd District Social Action Chairman for the event, for his leadership in pushing this event to the chapters of the Third District and galvanizing support. Each chapter was asked to raise $500.00 for the St. Jude Game Day Give Back effort.

Upsilon Nu continued its support by raising a total of $1,985.00. That is over 30% of the goal set for the chapter. “The amount we raised this year is just an ongoing step toward our continued efforts going forward to support the fraternity’s partnership with St. Jude’s”, stated District Coordinator Brother Jeff Tarpley.  I am pleased that Upsilon Nu has been one of the top fundraising chapters in the 3rd District. Each year we look forward to increasing the amounts we raise for this worthy cause. For the past seven years, 82 cents of every dollar received has gone to support the treatment, research and future needs of St. Jude. The hospital costs about $2.4 million a day to run, and there is no cost to be treated.

About 7,500 patients are seen at St. Jude annually, most of whom are treated on a continuing outpatient basis and are part of ongoing research programs. The hospital also has 78 beds for patients requiring hospitalization during treatment. St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and from around the world.

“The Third District continues to lead the way in raising funds and we expect to be one of the top performing districts when the funds are counted

 

Article by Bro. Michael Edwards                                             Pictures : Bro. Jeff Tarpley

Team Change Recognizes Upsilon Nu

Henrico, Va, Tuesday, December 19, 2017, Upsilon Nu was recognize for their support of Team Change at their annual appreciation ceremony. Team Change is a group of African-American women working together to help children in Highland Springs affected by missing black fathers due to mass incarceration. Lisa Robinson is the creator of Team Change which mentors young students.

Upsilon Nu was recognized for two of their efforts that have been of great assistance to Team Change. One event was Upsilon Nu’s financial support and help acting as chaperones for the bus trip and tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The second effort is the on-going tutoring program that is conducted weekly at Highland Springs Elementary School. Several of the children that attended the tour to the museum spoke about the event during the program and expressed their thanks.

Upsilon Nu was represented at the event by Bro. Michael Edwards. Mrs. Robinson asked Bro. Edwards to come up and address those in attendance on behalf of their Basileus Bro. Jeff Tarpley. “In my remarks I wanted to thank Team Change and all the other organizations that were present and receiving recognition for their support. I gave them a brief history of Upsilon Nu and mentioned some of the activities we have been conducting throughout the Greater Richmond Area,”stated Bro. Edwards.

Article: Bro. Michael Edwards                                          Pictures: Bro. Michael Edwards

Young Gentlemen of the Creek Necktie Program

Richmond, Virginia, Wednesday, November 15, 2017, Upsilon Nu came out to support the 4th Annual Necktie program as part of the Young Gentleman of the Creek Program. This is the fourth school year for the boys mentoring program at the school. “We are very grateful for the continued support and necktie donations from the Upsilon Nu chapter. The Young Gentlemen gratefully appreciate Upsilon Nu members taking the time to assist with the necktie and bow tie tying tutorials at the ceremony. The teacher advisors for the group have some exciting activities planned for the boys, including: community service opportunities, cooking with a professional chef, field trips, reading fiction books together as a group, and we're even going fishing next April,” stated Ms. Angela Harris, the mentoring program coordinator.

The purpose of this program is for selected boys in grades 6th, 7th, and 8th to participate in a youth empowerment, mentoring, and academic support group. Full participation from December until April is required. Brother James Hunter, Upsilon Nu’s Social Action Chairman and Vice-Basileus Michael Swain led several tutoring sessions for the boys. “They get the hang of it after a few times; the bow tie seemed to be more popular than the necktie this yea,” stated Brother Swain.

The ceremony included guest speaker Lance Watson Jr., the boys shopped from hundreds of donated neckties and engaging with men in the community during necktie tying tutorials. A central component of participation for each young gentleman is to dress in professional attire two Wednesdays per month.

In previous years, neckties have been donated by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Sen. Mark Warner, Sen. Tim Kaine and former Secretary of the Commonwealth Levar Stoney, along with many other notable male figures in the Richmond region.

Article Submitted By Bro. Michael Edwards and Bro. Michael Swain         Pictures by: Bro. Michael Swain

 

Upsilon Nu’s 2017 Essay Contest Winners

Richmond, Virginia, Sunday November 13, 2017. As part of Upsilon Nu’s Achievement Week Program, Upsilon Nu’s National High School Essay Contest winner was presented and received her award. Two recipients were selected from all those that submitted this year. Bro. Stephen Wilson, Chairman of the Upsilon Nu National High School Essay Contest, thanked the parents of the contestants as well as the contestants themselves, for the high quality of their essays. He thanked the parents for supporting the contestants and the contestants themselves for tackling the essay topic. The contestants were given a standing ovation as they came forward to accept their recognition awards.

The topic of the Essay was “What Actions Can You Take to Promote Social Justice and Embrace Diversity of All People”

First place was awarded to Ms. Demya E. Preston, a senior at Highland Springs High School. Ms. Preston is planning to major in Pre-Pharmacy. She has short listed the following schools; Hampton University, James Madison University, and Maryland Eastern Shore. As the first place recipient Ms. Preston was awarded $350.00.

Second place was awarded to Mr. Tyrone Nelson, a senior at Highland Springs High School. Mr. Nelson is planning to major in Cyber Security. He has short listed the following schools; Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Maryland and Virginia Tech University. As the second place recipient Ms. Preston was awarded $250.00.

“We look forward to these outstanding students applying for our scholarships in the spring,” stated committee member Bro. David Stone. “As Ms. Preston read her essay, I was struck at how well she was able to take the topic and weave in her own thoughts on possible ways to promote social justice and at the same time embrace inclusion of other cultures,” said Bro. Gregory Lewis. The topics from our international office have become more challenging and really force the participants to apply more rigor to their essays.

 

Article: Bro. Michael Edwards     Pictures: Bro. Jerome Jackson

Omega Stars Academy Program

Richmond, Virginia Saturday October 21, 2017 Upsilon Nu Chapter and Phi Phi chapter as part of their Joint Mentoring program, took fourteen members of the Omega Stars mentoring program to the premiere of the movie “Marshall”. This outing is just part of the enrichment portion of the Omega Stars mentoring program. Brothers Jamal Hill and Patrick Patrong representing Phi Phi and Upsilon Nu respectively are the custodians of the program.

As we take the kids to movies like this, we are very much aware that this is where the work begins, because they don’t have the context of what the movie is about, we are well aware they will not get the context in their schools. So the challenge lies on us to expose them to as much as possible and at the same time educate them on what they are seeing and the impacts of what they are seeing.

“We were trying to expose the students to a lesser known part of Thurgood Marshall’s life. The story reflected on accepting challenges with the associated work required to succeed against the odds. And also to demonstrate that even though Mr. Marshall made great sacrifices to achieve some of his successes, he realized he could not do it alone” , stated Bro. Patrong. There are currently 20 males in the program, of which 14 were able to attend the movie and get a chance to hang out with the brothers. Next up the participant will be working on a social action program in November.

 

Article by Bro. Michael Edwards                                          Pictures by Bro. Patrick Patrong