By Lateef Ipaye

In 2017, the Young Knights Leadership Academy (YKLA) at North Shore Senior High School began with only two members. Fast forward to 2020, the group has increased to over 20 and has become the talk of the school. Thien “TJ” Trinh, a senior and the group leader, has been directly involved with its growth.

“Without this program, I wouldn’t be the person I am today,” TJ said. “This program has helped me grow to become a man. The Young Knights and I have learned many things including teamwork, communication skills, how to become a leader, and how to help the community.”

The YKLA program, created by Michigan State Founder (Alpha Beta Chapter) Alex Alvarez in 1999, seeks to decrease dropout rates at local high schools while promoting higher education. Years later, the Young Knights Leadership Academy has become Omega Delta Phi’s national social action program providing assistance in the areas of college readiness, community service, mentorship, parent workshops, and distinctive lesson plans.

“It’s one thing to create several national partnerships with many national non-profits.  However it tends to be more special when the program is created from within at the grass-roots level,” Alvarez said.  “I truly believe ODPHI has created many special grass-roots programs that if leveraged nationally can make a profound impact on the world we live in.”