With the spring 2013 semester in full swing, the Brothers of Omega Delta Phi are currently balancing their academics while giving back to the community in various ways.

Many entities upkeep their Adopt-A-Street area. Many participated in MLK marches in their communities. Many visited elder families during Valentine’s Day. Furthermore, many are engaged with their local school systems through the Young Knights Leadership Academy (YKLA).

The YKLA program recruits underrepresented young men to be future leaders. Established in 1999 by Alex Alvarez, a founder at Michigan State University (Alpha Beta Chapter), the Young Knights Program focuses on aspects such as mentoring, career and  leadership development, and philanthropy. The goal of YKLA can be best exemplified by its motto “Develop to Uplift, Uplift to Impact.

Evanston Township High School 

The brothers at Northwestern University (Alpha Alpha Chapter)  currently work with Evanston Township High School students ranging from 9th to 12th grade. Their presentations on college admission and college life help the Young Knights consider making education a bigger part of their lifestyle. In addition, these brothers have sponsored campus visits to their university.

“We feel that as college students, our impact would be greater on high school students who are getting ready to make the decision to attend college and pursue a profession,” Oliver Ortega said service chairmen for Alpha Alpha chapter. “It’s also easier to relate to kids at these ages because we are just a few years older than them.”

Ortega explained further on his experience with the students.  “I’ve been very proud of the students we’ve interacted with and it’s been a great joy seeing them grow and develop,” he said. “I hope that our presence and activities have truly made a change in their lives.”

Over the years, the YKLA has expanded to many entities across the country and so has its focus. Initially intended for high school men, many entities have branched off to establish the Young Knights programs at elementary and middle schools.

 

Will Rogers Elementary School 

This semester the brothers  from University of Texas at San Antonio (Alpha Delta Chapter) established YKLA at Will Rogers Elementary School mentoring third graders.

With the help of Alpha Delta brothers, Edwardo Castillo and David Bernal, along with the third grade bilingual teacher, Jesse Barragan, they are striving to make a difference at the elementary.

“I was able to see firsthand the lack of positive male role models in our community,” Barragan said.  As an alumnus of the Epsilon Chapter at Arizona State University, Barragan saw numerous benefits in helping establish this program at Will Rogers. He feels that for some of his students this opportunity would have a positive impact on them.

“Through Young Knights I knew that

[the students] would have a stable positive mentor that could really push them and motivate them to strive academically a