The men of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. are dedicated to “training for leadership”, and Brain Richardson Jr.’s work with young men in Indiana is a perfect example of this.
Brian, a fall 2010 initiate of the fraternity and the current assistant director of diversity and inclusion at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington, has created an amazing program that focuses on leadership development for young men of color in the fourth through sixth grade.
His program, The Krimson Leadership Academy, meets weekly with young men at nearby Fairview Elementary School and exposes them to effective leadership strategies, providing them with mentoring opportunities during early developmental stages of manhood.
“Through a mixture of age appropriate analysis and discussions, activities, article clips, videos, and references to popular pop culture media, this group explores the implications of identity development at an early age,” the program describes itself.
According to a write up about the purpose of the program, its aim is to counteract the negative images and media that young men in America face every day.
“Minority men in America today are often afflicted with a disease: a much too narrow, skewed view of toxic manhood, glorified thuggish image, and a lack of the exploration of self,” the program states. “Many of them form their opinions on manhood and masculinity at an early age based on consumption of daily media, instead of contemplating their lives and the lives of the men around them or the lack there of in a purposeful way, asking questions of established norms, and continually seeking new information. This experience was created to take a group of young men on a philosophical journey to produce positive examples of masculinity, self-worth, and examining one of the central question to their existence – what type of person will I become? Through weekly discussions and activities with peers and more seasoned minority men, and constant reflection, this group will explore the ideas of leadership and living healthy lifestyles, particularly as it relates to the development of their own concept of self, in hopes that this experience will positively change their lives.”
Richardson receives help from the local chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi at Indiana University who show up as mentors for the young men.
Check out this amazing video made by Indiana University that shows the program and highlights how Brian along with undergraduate members of Kappa Alpha Psi are working to positively impact these young men’s lives and trajectories.