Friday, June 8, 2018

Crossing The Bar 2018 - Selected Photos from Photographer Alvin Swilley of CandidQueShots

     On June 5th the Virginia Beach, Virginia (Gamma Xi) chapter of Omega Psi Phi held it's annual Crossing The Bar and Scholarship event. This event involves an awarding of $1000 academic scholarships to six college-bound males, a prayer ritual for all graduating seniors in the room, and a Trunk Party for the graduating senior members of Gamma Xi's male mentoring program. The mentoring program is named The Golden Fold and serves young men in Hampton Roads in the 6th - 12th grades.
 Selected Photos from Photographer Alvin Swilley of CandidQueShots

C. Philps (Black shirt) & B. Brown (Blue shirt) enjoy food at the event. Both are members of The Golden Fold.

(L to R) The Golden Fold Founder and Director Seko Varner and Assistant Director Fred Foard are interviewed by a WTKR News Channel 3 reporter Anthony Sabella.
(L to R) The Golden Fold Founder and Director Seko Varner and Green Run High School Graduating senior Cyntenious Morris Jr. are interviewed by a WTKR News Channel 3 reporter Anthony Sabella. Cyntenioushas been a member of The Golden Fold since 2011.


The senior members of The Golden Fold. (L to R) Cyntenios Morris of Green Run High, Christian Philp of Landstown High School, Kameron Gray of Green Run Collegiate High School, and Baldwin-Akin Varner of Landstown High School. Behind the young men are college foot lockers which have been stocked by gifts from members of Omega Psi Phi and members of the community to prepare the young men for their next phase in life. The filling of these"trunks" is called the "Trunk Party".

We were filling their trunks to send them off in grand style!
Some of the remaining members of the Virginia Beach branch of The Golden Fold.
Audience members standing to celebrate America during renditions of The Star Spangled Banner and Lift Every Voice and Sing.
Audience members standing to celebrate America during renditions of The Star Spangled Banner and Lift Every Voice and Sing.
Green Run High School's David White, III sings The Star Spangled Banner and Lift Every Voice and Sing to open the event. David is flanked by his fellow members of The Golden Fold.
Audience members standing to celebrate America during renditions of The Star Spangled Banner and Lift Every Voice and Sing.
The audience joined David White, III during his artful rendition of Lift Every Voice and Sing.
Abdul Wallace, Lead Mentor of The Golden Fold, salutes community volunteers who have served The Golden Fold affectionately known as Bridge Builders.

High School Senior members of The Golden Fold - Cyntenious, Baldwin-Akin, Kameron, and Christian are challenged by the commencement speaker, Dr. LaQuiche Parrott.
Dr. Laquiche Parrot delivered our commencement address. She is flanked by Young Leaders of The Golden Fold.
Dr. LaQuiche Parrott.
Dr. LaQuiche Parrott.
Dr. Shafeeq Ameen speaks before providing $1000 scholarships to six scholarship receipients.
Gamma Xi scholarship receipients and Dr. Shafeeq Ameen:
1. Taquan Butler - Tallwood High School
2. Kameron Gray - Green Run Collegiate High School (A senior member of The Golden Fold)
3. Jaylen Johnson - Green Run High School
4. Cyntenious Morris - Green Run High School (A senior member of The Golden Fold)
5. Jalen Patrick - Tallwood High School
6. Dr. Shafeeq Ameen.
Scholarship receipient Marcus Twyman (not pictured) attends Landstown High School.
Green Run Principal, C. Todd Tarkenton, with scholarship receipients from Green Run Campus: Kameron Gray of Green Run Collegiate High School, Jaylen Johnson of Green Run High School, and Cyntenious Morris of Green Run High School. Green Run Collegaite and Green Run High school share a campus and are known as the Green Run Campus.
School counselor W.T. Calhoon with scholarship recepients from Tallwood High School.
Parents and graduating seniors participate in the Blessing of The Head ritual during the Crossing The Bar event.
Mentors, Parents, and graduating seniors participate in the Blessing of The Head ritual during the Crossing The Bar event.
Family members, Parents and graduating seniors participate in the Blessing of The Head ritual during the Crossing The Bar event.
Parents and graduating seniors participate in the Blessing of The Head ritual during the Crossing The Bar event.
Mentors, Parents and graduating seniors participate in the Blessing of The Head ritual during the Crossing The Bar event.
Mentors, Parents and graduating seniors participate in the Blessing of The Head ritual during the Crossing The Bar event.
Mentors, Parents and graduating seniors participate in the Blessing of The Head ritual during the Crossing The Bar event.
Parents and graduating seniors participate in the Blessing of The Head ritual during the Crossing The Bar event.
Parents and graduating seniors participate in the Blessing of The Head ritual during the Crossing The Bar event.
Mentors, Parents and graduating seniors participate in the Blessing of The Head ritual during the Crossing The Bar event.
Speaker Blair Durham challenges the cadre of graduating seniors.
Reggie Matthews, of The Gamma Xi Uplift Foundation and the Gamma Xi chapter of Omega Psi Phi thanks the guests for participating.
Cyntenios Morris surprises the audience by publically thanking The Golden Fold program for helping him to grow in leadership.
Graduating Senior Cyntenios Morris hugs Seko Varner, Director of The Golden Fold, to wish Seko well as Seko Varner is running for a 2018 at-Large seat on the Virginia Beach School Board.
(L to R) Golden Fold Young Leaders Jorden Bennett, Bryan Brow, and Lyreese DeRose close the event.
A collection of Bridge Builders (community volunteers) who supported The Golden Fold.
The members of The Virginia Beach branch of The Golden Fold with program mentors and Bridge Builders who support the program.

The Golden Fold Mentor Movement serves 6th - 12th grade youth by providing seminar based Big-Brother-type activities in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Contact: thegoldenfoldmovement @ gmail (dot) com or call 757-932-0177. The Golden Fold is a "Brothers and Others" Community Improvement activity of the Gamma Xi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi and the Gamma Xi Uplift Foundation.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

“Gentlemen Making a Change”: Mentoring helps African American boys succeed - Jane Bloodworth Rowe's story on Young Leader CJ


Green Run High School senior C.J. Morris faced some special challenges growing up. His father was incarcerated twice before C.J. was in middle school, and he worked an after-school job to supplement the family income.
As one of only two African American boys in his classes who was in the gifted program at Windsor Oaks Elementary School, also had some special qualities.
These qualities, including academic talent and the determination to succeed, helped him to attract the attention of adult mentors.
Now 17, C.J. is looking forward to August, when he’ll enter Virginia Commonwealth University with the goal of eventually attending medical school and becoming an anesthesiologist.
C.J.’s involvement in Golden Fold, a community-based youth mentoring program sponsored by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, helped him realize his first goal, that of being accepted into college.
“Before I was in Golden Fold, the only male role model I had was my grandfather,” said C.J., who grew up with his older brother, Larquan Riddick, in a household headed by their mother, Tiniki Riddick.
The grandfather, Bobby Lee Riddick, died when C.J. was in middle school; but C.J. also bonded to male adults in his church, Tabernacle Church of God and Christ, as well as to the mentors in Golden Fold, which he joined in the sixth grade.
(Photo - CJ's mother Tiniki Riddick, CJ, & Baldwin-Akin Varner in Green Run High School.)
C.J. became involved in Golden Fold through his friend Baldwin Varner, the son of Golden Fold Director Seko Varner and the only other African American boy in C.J.’s elementary school classes who was in the honors program.
(Photo of CJ (left front) & Baldwin-Akin Varner (Right front) in 2012 with The Golden Fold & SAAB members)
“C.J. is special because when I went to Windsor Oaks for their programs, there were very few children of color in these programs,” Varner said. “Then to have two in the same room was really special.”
When C.J. entered Green Run High, he also joined “Gentlemen Making a Change,” a support and mentoring group for Green Run students formerly directed by Varner, who was a former counselor at that school. GMAC is now directed by Golden Fold mentor and Green Run High School teacher Larry Reaves-Bey.
(Photo - Members of GMAC & The Golden Fold going to a conference)
“Mr. Varner changed my life,” C.J. said. “Golden Fold established a sense of being able to believe in yourself and who you are.”
The career and college counseling that C.J. received also helped him to choose a college and major.
(Photo - CJ and members of The Fold at Green Run for a Golden Fold special event in 2018)
“I like math and science, and I like helping people,” C.J. said. “The best way to incorporate math and science with helping people is to go into the medical field.”
C.J. is also involved in Impact Virginia Beach, a youth program within the Virginia Beach NAACP. He works part-time at Chick-Fil-A, and said it’s sometimes tough to balance school and work.
(Photo - Members of the NAACP's Impact Virginia Beach at a recent banquet)
“I’m vey proud of him,” said Tiniki Riddick. “He was the only young black man in his school to win the presidential award,” an award given to fifth-graders for academic excellence.
“Earning that pin made me want to keep moving forward,” C.J. said. “What I’ve learned from my challenges is that it’s not where you start, but where you finish.”
(Photo - CJ provides an STD training for The Golden Fold in 2017)
Va. Pilot article by By Jane Bloodworth Rowe:
https://pilotonline.com/news/local/article_b904a7dc-3a94-11e8-b6bf-873218aca18a.html 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Golden Fold Mentor Movement serves 6th - 12th grade youth by providing seminar based Big-Brother-type activities in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Contact: thegoldenfoldmovement @ gmail (dot) com or call 757-932-0177. The Golden Fold is a "Brothers and Others" Community Improvement activity of the Gamma Xi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi and the Gamma Xi Uplift Foundation.