Members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated, Peoria Alumni Chapter held its KLASSIC MAN youth event on April 21, 2017.
The “Klassic Man: Manhood Training for the Next Generation” is a free event in which Brothers of Kappa Alpha Psi, also referred to as NUPES, come out to meet and spend time with young men age 10-18.
The highlight of the event is a makeshift workshop where NUPES teach the young men how to tie neck ties.
According to the event’s chairman, Bro. James D. Gilkesson, this year’s event was a huge success with nearly 30 young men in attendance. “The event’s real success is measured by the impact it’s had on the young men,”says Bro. Gilkesson, alum of North Carolina A&T, who joined the bond in 1979. He recalls how he was impressed after meeting NUPES during a similar event when he was a middle schooler and how it stayed with him all the way to college.
The event was held in the heart of Peoria’s south side at the Proctor Center. For decades, the community based program has provided activities for the area’s youth. The Chapter’s President, Bro. Chris McCall, is now a local Attorney. He once played little league baseball at Proctor Center and encouraged the young men to make school a priority. “Regardless of what sport you want to play or career you want to attain, you must go to and complete college,” said Bro. McCall. He also emphasized the importance to the young men, to listen to their teachers, coaches, and elders.
The brief two-hour event kicked off with chapter members introducing themselves and giving a brief bio. Afterwards, the session’s agenda was strictly impromptu as the young men listened to a dozen brothers take turns speaking from their hearts. “I was impressed at how the boys sat so attentively and asked questions,” said Jalyle Taylor (Fall 2016). Bro. Dr. Marwin Spiller, says as a College Dean, he was not surprised at the level of respect paid by the young men to the fraternity. He says, “Today’s youth is starving for guidance and it’s our responsibility to give back, especially as members of KAPPA ALPHA PSI.”
The discussion was soon held around burgers and refreshments. NUPES continued to feed the young men wisdom as they fed their tummies. NUPES major emphasis was the importance of making good choices and to start thinking now about careers.
The event culminated with a crash course neck tie workshop. The neck ties were an excellent way for brothers to get all the young men actively participating. The room was filled with smiles as the young men learned, some for the very first time, how to tie and wear a neck tie. Afterwards, they could not wait to show their SWAG and when done taking pictures many stated they looked forward to our next meeting.