Seventy-three students, a major increase over last year, were present at the Inland Valley Foundation's fourth annual Youth Leadership Conference held for the second consecutive year at the University of La Verne to learn about "perseverance," as well as, manhood, scholarship, and uplift, cardinal principles of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
The youth were teenage sons of parents from San Gabriel and San Fernando Valleys, Inland Empire, and greater Los Angeles. "They came from every area of Southern California," said James Wilson, president of the Inland Valley Uplift Foundation, the non-profit organization that made it all happen.
Wilson said, "Omega Psi Phi Fraternity members from all Southern California geographical areas were present" to greet the youth and their families.
They learned the value of staying in school, preparing for and taking college entrance exams, studying science, engineering, technology, mathematics and what it will take to get into college. They heard stories about the rewards of working through tough times and getting it right.
"It was a powerful presentation for my son to see so many professional Black men willing to work with the youth. Messan said he enjoyed everything about it," said Dr. Leeshawn C. Moore, Director of Institutional Research at the University.
As an incentive for attending the conference, students recieve a notebook, back-pack and a purple t-shirt with gold trim. Dr. Moore said her son, Messan, who attended the conference, wore the t-shirt he received for the rest of the day and has even taken the back-pack to school. She was impressed with the wide array of youth and parents/guardians who attended the conference.
Ricky Lewis, President of the Omega Educational Foundation, for the last 20 years has provided the executive leadership for the Los Angeles Youth Leadership Conference in conjunction with Tau Tau Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. It is held each October at the University of Southern California. Lewis observed, "This is important work, our young men need to hear from strong Black men."
Lewis said that all chapters of the Fraternity continue to be engaged in youth oriented initiatives. "We will continue to do this work; we must save our young men. And we appreciate the work that is being done in the Pomona Valley and in the Inland Empire."
Zeta Tau Chapter in Pasadena joined the Foundation in welcoming students and their parents from 29 cities: Altadena, Claremont, Compton, Colton, Concord, Corona, Chino Hills, El Segundo, Fontana, Inglewood, Highland, Lancaster, La Verne, Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach, Northridge, Moreno Valley, Pasadena, Pomona, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Dimas, Santa Clarita, Torrance, Upland, Valencia, Victorville, and West Covina.
Seven other Fraternity Chapters throughout the southland welcomed the students and their parents. Those chapters were: Lambda Omicron, Phi Lambda, Pi Rho, Phi Beta Beta, Sigma Iota Iota, Tau Tau, and Zeta Rho; together they represented a geographical span throughout Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties.
These men helped to teach about family values, the art and science of effective communication and what one's behavior says about them. Students and parents received information that would help Southern California families strengthen their ability to persevere, to become self-sufficient and to remain determined to be productive citizens capable of accomplishing great deeds.
This conference is being called the spring extension of the Los Angeles Youth Leadership Conference held in the fall at USC. These conferences are highly valued. They invite young school boys and their parents to spend the day talking about values, attitudes, and behaviors that will enable them to complete high school, continue their formal education, and pursue a career they will enjoy and find interesting.
They heard from several speakers throughout the area including: Chief Floyd Clark, Ontario Fire Department and Michael Haynes, Senior Compliance Officer for the Southern California Air Quality Management agency. Both men talked about the value of education and the need to stay in school, get excellent grades and be ready to compete with other students world-wide.
The committee that planned the conference consisted of: James Wilson, Chairman, Pink Underwood, James George, William "Bee" Thomas, Donald Mahoney, Johnie Drawn, Disraeli Ellison and George D. Taylor.