The Omega Manhood Leadership Institute, the award winning mentoring program created by Eta Omega Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, is back in business after a 2-year break. The relaunch, organized by OMLI Executive Director Brother Ronald Coleman and his Co-Director, Brother Anthony (AJ) Jones, occurred on April 16th. The students, all second through fifth graders at Dunbar Elementary in Atlanta’s Mechanicsville Neighborhood, enthusiastically recited the motto (“I promise to do my best and make a difference because I am the future”), and listened closely to the OMLI rules which include three wardrobe requirements; belts, tucked-in shirts, and no sagging pants.

With violence and mistrust between Black males and law enforcement growing, the first topic of the OMLI session involved coaching the students on how to handle themselves when stopped by police. Brother Derrick Henderson, a Fulton County Police Officer, used role-play to show how easily a situation can get out of hand when a law enforcement officer feels threatened or disrespected. There was also a scenario demonstrating how one troublemaker can get innocent kids hanging out with him in serious trouble.

Brother Jones, a Paramedic and Firefighter, spoke about the satisfaction which comes from saving a life, literally, by restarting a heart which has stopped beating. He also stressed the importance of establishing and following protocols and paying attention to detail.

The day concluded with a presentation by Brother Langston Longley, principal of a school in a nearby neighborhood. Brother Longley distributed a packet of information on summer programs and activities meant to be both educational and fun. Among the options, Day Camps on topics including computer games and sports.

The next OMLI session will occur in May. This fall, the program will be a regular part of the extra-curricular options at Dunbar, and plans are being made to launch OMLI at the middle school level in the near future. The program began in 2007 at Deerwood Academy, and at the end of its first year won the A+ Award for the Rookie Achievement Category from the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Atlanta Public Schools.