Kappa brothers mentor Broward County teens
L-r: Kappa League Committee members Paul Snead, Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Bobby DuBose and Brent Folks give Kappa League member Carlos Mondesir a plaque for Kappa League Member of the Year.
By Tamara G
Some people talk the talk and then there are those who walk the walk. And when you say that you are going to mentor young boys and teach them how to grow into young men, the Fort Lauderdale Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. is doing just that: walking the walk with Broward’s youth.
Each month, more than 25 Kappas take the time to mentor young men in the community through their mentoring program called The Guide Right Program. It is comprised of high school students from Broward County who come from all types of socio-economic back-grounds. Each fraternity member is paired with at least three teens, who become members of The Kappa League, and the group has monthly meetings, attend church services quarterly and participate in community-service projects each month in order to maintain their membership in The Kappa League.
Led by Brent Folks, the young men learn responsibility, accountability and common sense attributes that will teach them how to live in the real world. According to Folks, “We teach them reliability and dependability. Do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it,” added Folks. He is proud of the fact they even have a monthly book club of which they just finished reading Hill Harper’s Letters to a Young Brother and Todd Strasser’s Give a Boy a Gun which deals with bullying and the Columbine massacre.
He also said that sometimes the young men just need another man to set them straight. “We find that outside of the Brothers’ (other Kappas) sons, the young men typically come from single parent households. In some cases, it’s even grand-mother who’s keeping them. It’s challenging for women to raise a young man. They aren’t as intimidated by mom when they get older,” explained Folks.
He said the members of his fraternity really have to make time when they get a call from a mother who’s having problems with her son. “It’s nothing but sitting down and talking with him to find out what’s wrong. You’d be surprised at what you find out over an eight dollar lunch. You have meetings with them, do service projects and then they start calling you and start telling you about their lives. We’ve even heard them telling each other, ‘They’re trying to shape and mold us to be better,’” said Folks.
So how does the married father of two, who’s a pilot for United Parcel Service, find time to mentor and why did he volunteer to lead The Guide Right Program? The Detroit native said it was simple: He was asked to do it.
“It’s really funny. I never saw myself doing this. I’m not an educator, don’t have teen children and it’s not my industry. But if leadership asks you to do it, you should do it. Every-one can say no, but if everyone says no, then it won’t get done. You become more and more involved with the young men and I enjoy spending time with them and the kids get something out of it. We really saw a need for it,” he explained.
Folks also said it is important for The Kappas to be part of the community. His alumni chapter gives out Christmas and Easter baskets and also scholarships for incoming college students. He says sometimes you have to roll up your sleeves and get involved and with the way society is, you cannot overlook the children.
If you know of a high school male that is in need of mentorship, contact Brent Folks at Brent1911@aol.com or www.flakappas.com. There is no prerequisite for the young men to become Kappas, but most of them follow that natural course, although some Kappa League members have joined other fraternities once they reached college.
Folks said he and the rest of his fraternity brothers do what they do to give back to the community and to show this generation that they can be successful. Concluded Folks, “As long as they can dream of something and work hard for it, they can certainly achieve it.”