For almost twenty (20) years, The Theta Omicron Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. has been "Friends of Education" as partners with the Rochester City School District at George Mather Forbes School No. 4. Two Saturdays per month; chapter members (under the leadership of Bro. Joel Cummings) meet with the students from No. 4 School. Initially, the program was entitled: Supervising, Training, Relating Ideas and Developing Excellence (Project S.T.R.I.D.E.) to assist with academic achievements as well as to offer a presence of African American males who have achieved levels of success beyond what most of the targeted audience see on a routine basis. Project S.T.R.I.D.E. hosts forty students in the program and are developing both male and female students. Most activities are integrated, however, with female staff volunteers, gender specific topics are also available.
Over the years, the themes for Project S.T.R.I.D.E. have varied. As social conditions have changed, so has the focus of these Saturday sessions. The themes have transitioned from academic support to cultural enrichment to social and behavioral skills. Based on the "Call to Action" by Former Mayor Bill Johnson, the current focus of S.T.R.I.D.E. shifted towards developing social and behavioral skills. Despite the change in themes over the years, the one constant has been the favorable influence that this program has had on the development of the students academically, socially, and behaviorally which has allowed them to realize their own potential. The basic premise of this shift in focus, towards social and behavioral skills, is that students have the power and that their power is shown through the choices that they make. The students are taught that their choices have consequences (both positive and negative). To help reinforce these skills, students work with local professionals to help develop these skills as well as go on various field trips where they can practice these skills. Additionally, students are also taught they, too, are responsible for supporting their community.
We are continuing with the theme of self-control which is built on the concept of maintaining power and control through the decisions that one makes. Students learn that decisions and associated actions result in either rewards or consequences. They are presented with the knowledge of what short-term and long-term implications are with hopes that they think before they act.
Because we realize that S.T.R.I.D.E. participants are generally from low income families, the Theta Omicron Scholarship Foundation, Inc., provides for field trips that exposes the students to a variety of experiences that most would not have. The intent is to broaden their horizons so that they might aspire to see, do and be more than what they experience from day-to-day.
The success of the program has always been measured over time. The result of the choices and the rewards thereafter is our indicator of impact.
Registration Forms are sent home during the beginning of the school year. Applications are accepted on a first come, first serve basis. For more information please contact one of the directors of Project S.T.R.I.D.E. Joel Cummings or Rob Mitchell.