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Project Guide Right

39th Annual Steve Lewis Achievement Awards Ceremony

By Project Guide Right

The Sarasota (FL) Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. in Assoc. With Sarasota, Bradenton Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. hosted its 39th Annual Steve Lewis Achievement Ceremony at Rodger United Methodist Church. This year our fraternity awarded 4 scholarships and to this date we have offers 218K in well-deserving scholarships to seniors and nursing students in our community. We also honored two dynamic citizens of the year, Dawnyelle Singleton of Sarasota and Dr. Sharon Jefferson of Manatee. The main theme of the evening was geared around the success of the Sarasota Community Foundation ever so popular 2022 Giving Challenge and proved to be our community event for our giving challenge campaign. Showing our donors that we are committed to the community we serve.

Our scholarship recipients all have impressive backgrounds and various community and academic achievements. Our first recipient was Amari Brewer, who is a graduating senior out of Bayshore High School, where Amari maintained a GPA of 3.7368. He plans on achieving his degree in Forensics and becoming a Forensic Investigator.

Our next recipient is Alzavien Houston a graduating senior from Palmetto High School. Alzavien participated in track and football and has maintained a GPA of 2.87. Alzavien plans to attend Clarke Atlanta in the fall.

Our next scholarship recipient is William Morange who is a graduating senior out of Sarasota High School and has maintained a GPA of 3.94. During his high school career, William participated in the Teen Aircraft of Manasota, Literacy Council of Sarasota County, The Boys & Girls Club, Faulnaber Fab Lab Volunteer, Leadership Sarasota Youth Program, and Agape Youth Program Volunteer. And not to mention, a cashier at Publix.

And our last recipient is Karmani Gregory, who is a graduating senior out of Southeast High School. Karmani participated in basketball and has maintained a GPA of 3.79 while studying in the IB program. He plans on majoring in sports physical therapy and matriculating into a master’s program. Also, travel the world while playing basketball.

Our fraternity maintains a high level of giving in our community and assists students who choose to pursue post-secondary education. Our fraternity has awarded well over 218k in scholarships over 30 years as we continue “To Be The One”

Giving in the Spirit of honoring a Soldiers Legacy Continuing to “Be The One”

By Project Guide Right

On December 28, 2021, the good lord called our brother Steve Lewis home to glory and he transitioned to Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. chapter invisible. Steve’s legacy continues as he was honored a year ago at the State College of Florida Heritage House with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the opening of his very own personal exhibit at the Family Heritage House Museum on the campus of State College of Florida, Manatee Sarasota in Bradenton.

Mr. Lewis was born and raised in Manatee County and has made significant contributions to the history and growth of the Black community. He is one of the last surviving members of the world-famous Buffalo Soldiers and served in the U.S. 9th Calvary. “The opening of this exhibit and honoring the legacy of Mr. Lewis has been a dream of mine for some time”, says Keenan Wooten, the organizer of the event. “Steve has meant a lot to this community over the years and deserves his rightful place of honor as a pillar of the community”. Aaron Randall II, leader of the local Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. chapter also spoke with glowing remarks about Mr. Lewis.

“Brother Lewis was the organizer of our local chapter of this great fraternity. His actions lead to its formation, and he assumed the role of Polemarch/ CEO of the group. Due to his many efforts and sacrifices, the organization grew and is one of the most honored chapters in the international group”, Randall said.
At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Mr. Lewis was assisted by Mrs. Kathie Marsh, museum specialist of the Family Heritage House, to cut the ribbon to open the newest exhibit. The museum is an African American gallery and resource center located on the Bradenton campus of State College of Florida, focused on the value of knowledge of one’s heritage, and as an incentive to expand one’s continuing search for truth and understanding. The museum is devoted to the study and exploration of the contributions made by African Americans Continued throughout history.

Mr. Lewis’ exhibit consists of a bust, his original Buffalo soldier uniform, and other artifacts on display for public viewing. He and his family were very proud and honored for this public recognition and dedication to his legacy.
“I want to thank all those that made this day possible for me to see”, said Mr. Lewis. “Most folks receive their flowers when they are gone, but I am lucky to receive my flowers while I’m still able to see and smell their beautiful scent.
I want to thank my daughter, Jennifer, for all she does and all the other people who made this day possible, including my brothers of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Family Heritage House, Bank of America, Dave Franz on the history of Buffalo Soldiers, Dale Holbrook on the sculpture, and Northern Trust Bank,” he said.

This year on April 26, 2022, we humbly ask our community to participate in the Sarasota Community Foundation 2022 Giving Challenge and donate to Sarasota-Bradenton Kappa Alpha Psi Project Guide Right, Inc. to help us continue Steve Lewis’s Legacy. www.givingchallenge.org

Celebrating Easter in Our Community

By Project Guide Right

Over 30 years of service in our community has allowed us to understand and touch the lives of children of all ages. Our community Easter egg hunt not only puts smiles on our youth’s faces, but the event brings adults together from all walks of life and our community celebrates Easter in a safe way. Thank you to the Sarasota Community Foundation for highlighting our prestigious event as we continue to “Be The One” in our community.

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Speakers Bureau Engagement….

By Project Guide Right

Many people use the quote “our children are our future”, which could not be closer to the truth. But to make this an aspirational future for us all, we must pitch in and do the work to develop, nurture, and educate our children to provide the guidance they need. Good decision-making by our kids is not an easy task and we must provide the tools to help them along the way.

The Sarasota-Bradenton Project Guide Right Foundation is a strong believer in the biblical saying “raise a child in the way they should go and when they are older, they will not depart from it”. So, we strive to “Be The One” to step forward and provide learning lessons in that regard.

Each Friday the men of the Foundation journey to Manatee Elementary to provide life lessons and words of encouragement to the children. Our topics are meant to be fun, informative, interesting, and motivational to create a strong learning environment. We discuss with the youngsters topics such as Anti-Bullying, Self Esteem, Self-Discipline, Becoming a better student, Respecting Others, Building Your Own Brand, Academics & Sports, Law enforcement & You, and other meaningful topics.

This series of engagements is for the Spring semester and new topics will be created for the Fall semester. So far, the kids enjoy it, are learning, and are internalizing the lessons they hear according to their teachers. These interventions are critical for our young Black males as we all know the statistics that say if you don’t learn to read by the 3rd grade, your chances for success are greatly diminished as compared to other demographics.

We continue to “BE THE ONE” in our community and invite you to join in on the work & fun!

Champion in Health Care Continuing to “Be The One”

By Project Guide Right

Over 30 years of service in our community has allowed us to understand and be in touch with important issues. One of the main issues that affect our community at large and specifically the male population is the availability and use of health care opportunities. One major problem in the Black Community is prostate cancer and how it affects our men. Compared with white men, African American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer and are twice as likely to die from the disease. Additionally, when you add the Black male’s tendency to avoid health services until absolutely necessary increases the deadly impact this form of cancer has.

African American men are at an increased risk for developing prostate cancer over white men and other men of color. One in seven African American men will develop prostate cancer in his lifetime. Overall, African American men are 1.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with—and 2.1 times more likely to die from—prostate cancer than white men. African American men are also slightly more likely than white men to be diagnosed with advanced disease due to the aforementioned avoidance of doctor’s visits.

So, what can be done to change the behaviors of our men and provide increased chances of detection prior to late-stage development? Through the power of partnership and relationship building, we have been able to establish a program with Dattoli Cancer Foundation and the Sarasota Public Library System – (North Sarasota) to provide cancer awareness, education, and detection services. Our free prostate cancer screenings and informational pamphlets attract all men from all races and have served thousands of residents in our community. Our program has been proven to be one of the most impactful, relevant, and life-changing events in our community host.

We are not the only group that believes in this important service as we can not do this without the help and support of partner organizations. We however are the uniting force that brings this needed service to the community each year as we try to “Be The One” that provides the initiative and the commitment to serve. We strive to improve our community and be the one at the center of serving our fellow man/woman.

Project Guide Right, Inc. Continuing to “Be The One”

By Project Guide Right

“Be The One” is more than a slogan at Sarasota-Bradenton Project Guide Right Foundation…it is a way of life! Every day we strive to embody the spirit and actions of making our community a better place to live, grow, and prosper. From the youngest (Infant safety programs) to the teens (youth skill development & team sports) to young adults (scholarships to college), and adults (male Prostate screenings, family food & clothing donations, and health & wellness programs). If we can help, we are busy “Being The One” to lend a helping hand.

In 2021 through a generous donor through the Manatee Community Foundation, we decided to adopt two local little league teams in Bradenton and Palmetto. The Manatee Mustangs and The Palmetto Pride teams.  Our charitable contribution not only helps the two respected programs, but our relationship with both organizations is also stronger than ever and will only help us continue to Be The One in our community. We are extremely grateful to have fosters a positive relationship with the Manatee Community Foundation and we look forward to continuing to “Be The One” in our community.

On April 26-27, 2022 from noon to noon, please visit www.givingchallenge.org to donate to Sarasota-Bradenton Kappa Alpha Psi Project Guide Right, Inc., and help us continue to “Be The One” The Giving Challenge is hosted by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, with giving strengthened by The Patterson Foundation.

Giving Challenge Story 2022

By Project Guide Right

There is a significant crisis in the minority communities around the country as it relates to the underachievement occurring for Black males. The statistics are alarming pointing to further degradation in opportunities and progress towards aspirational growth and achievement.

Community action is required to change the environment and it starts with individual actions and commitment. We were fortunate to partner with the Giving Challenge in 2020 which provided a vehicle for giving that our donors responded to and made a huge difference in young, disadvantaged men’s lives! Donors give to causes that touch their hearts and many donors are touched by the opportunity to help others overcome obstacles they may have faced in their past. Our donors saw young men committing themselves to a self-help program and were inspired and motivated to help. The Giving Challenge platform made that support possible where otherwise it may not have existed.

The following statistics point to a need for intervention measures to stop the downward spiral and create/inspire a new reality for this major demographic in our community.

  • 46% of Florida minority households are struggling to make ends meet.
  • Minority communities typically make up the smaller percentage of groups accessing higher education and/or technical degrees due to financial shortfalls. This reality does not
    bode well for future upward mobility and prosperity.
  • 65% of Florida jobs will require a degree or technical credentials by 2025.
  •  Black male reading levels at 3rd grade are well below average and a leading indicator of future assimilation issues into mainstream America.
  • Black males continue to score at the lowest end of all measures of achievement, improvement, and access to educational opportunities and benefits.
  • Florida faces a talent gap, with jobs increasingly requiring education beyond high school.
  • Florida must boost education attainment—especially for our most vulnerable students—so we don’t fall behind.
  • Well-paying jobs with opportunities for growth require education or training past high school.
  • New solutions must be created & developed to address this growing chasm of failure.

SBPGR Foundation is keenly aware of this foreboding reality and is taking direct action to address it head-on and make a difference. In order to begin changing the dialog and addressing the downward trends, we encouraged and engage the public to help through donations to help us fund our highly acclaimed training syllabus specifically created to address many aspects of deficient behaviors.

We engaged in 2020 Giving Challenge with the purpose of raising funds specifically for the use of our Kappa League program to provide the following:

  • Weekly meetings to teach, train, mentor, and coach young men of color in various fields of study
  • Provide a lecture series that includes prominent educators, motivational speakers, athletes, religious leaders, health & wellness experts, and other positive influencers to show alternative and aspirational images
  • Provide travel experiences to training and educational clinics for unique life experiences

We then asked the parents and the children to gather their supporters to rally behind them and contribute the most funds in a contest to raise the most funds for themselves and the organization.

The Giving Challenge program was a smashing success! Our Kappa Leaguers were able to raise over $8,000 for their support of the programs and secured funding for learning opportunities that would have never existed. The Giving Challenge and the donors made the difference. Without this well-known and trusted vehicle forgiving, the process would have been much more challenging and difficult to enact. Our donors came together for the purpose of making a difference in the young men’s lives and they did it in an outstanding fashion! We look forward to even greater participation in 2022!

As Covid-19 has turned traditional fundraising, philanthropy and in-person events upside down. In this new environment locally our fraternity brothers through hard work and dedication persevered by continuing to impact the lives of students in our community. On April 10, 2021, our foundation hosted its 38th Annual Steve Lewis Achievement Awards Ceremony.

Hosting this event during the pandemic presented many challenges as people were still in fear to gather as new variants of COVID continued to emerge but with the creativity and perseverance of our brothers and community members we were able to host our event at our community center outside in open air and the with the ability to social distance safely.

This year, the fraternity presented seven scholarships and to date, has awarded over $208,000 in scholarships. We also recognized the citizens of the year from Sarasota and Manatee County, Olympia Baylou CEO of Blooming Impressions, and Manatee County Commissioner Reggie Bellamy. Scholarship recipients were DeMario Antwon Evans, Jr. Julian Jerold Gauthier. Zorian Veshawn Geathers, Kaivon Jamal Moran, Reid Anderson Pitts. Myles Edward Woodard and Jabrielle Nelson who received our nursing award, which this year was extremely unique that a male student applied for the award this year. Our brothers and board members did a fantastic job working with all of the local candidates making sure their GPAs were qualified and all applicants were accepted to a 4-year college or technical school and were ready for our prestigious event.

Being able t sustain our project guide program of mentorship and giving only cultivates trust in our community as we continue to impact our community one day at a time.