Members of the Jacksonville Alumnae Chapter (JAC) of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. do many things very well. One thing they do exceptionally well is mentor, support, encourage and empower young people. The EMBODI program, which stands for Empowering Males to Build Opportunities for Developing Independence, is a youth outreach program created by the governing body of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Its purpose is to intervene in the lives of school-aged African American males to promote and improve their quality of life through a comprehensive approach aimed at developing their overall potential. Members of JAC have been active in fulfilling this purpose through the EMBODI program for the past five years.
On Saturday, September 19th, the EMBODI program had an orientation and kick off event for both participants and parents/guardians that started off the program year - which runs from September through May – with great participation and high energy. An interactive icebreaker activity allowed for the shy participants and uneasy parents to intermingle with each other along with members of JAC in a fun and exciting way. Program chair, Mebraht Gebre-Michael, shared information about the EMBODI program, reviewed the curriculum framework, provided a program year calendar of events, shared leadership opportunities with the young men, and reviewed roles and responsibilities of both participants and parents. After going over all of these important details, it was time for another interactive activity. JAC members Monica Hopson and Jamila Pope organized and implemented an activity that encouraged positive interaction, self-confidence, character development, and connectedness and family bonding. The activity? The Great Debaters! Participants and parents engaged in a debate where each group held opposing views on four topics: Are single gender classrooms a more effective place to learn? Does violence in the media influence acts of violence in real life? What prepares a student for the real world better: sports or academics? Life sentence or death penalty?
One parent stated, “I am so impressed at how well my son spoke about topics that I never thought to expose him to.” Another stated that she was in awe and was very ecstatic about what the program year has in store for her boys. One male parent commended the women of Delta Sigma Theta for leading the EMBODI program and efforts in educating young African American males on topics that cannot be learned or taught in the school system. “It’s a step in the right direction, and I’ll be sure to recruit more young men that can benefit from EMBODI.”
The EMBODI program is for young men between the ages of 11 and 18. The program meets on a monthly basis and structures its program days on topics like business etiquette and professional presence, college readiness, physical and mental health, community service, and so much more.
If you’re interested in learning more about the EMBODI program, contact the Jacksonville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. at www.dstjax.org.