One year ago today, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. signed a historic Memorandum Of Understanding with the United States Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) to engage urban youth in outdoor recreation and STEMs Education. This initiative commemorated American scientist, botanist, and inventor, Dr. George Washington Carver’s groundbreaking research on plant biology and early experiments to improve soil conservation in the United States of America. Dr. Carver is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. In celebrating our first year anniversary, our partnership has bred several engagements with the young men and communities we aim to serve. We are excited for this amazing opportunity to continue our partnership with USFWS in engaging our youth through education and physical activity. We’ve aligned our focus with President Barack Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative with Phi Beta Sigma’s response initiative “I Am My Brother’s Keeper,” as we take this opportunity to teach our young men that food does not come from the box, but from the ground.
As I call out cities such as Philadelphia, PA, New Orleans, LA and San Diego, CA where our members have engaged the initiative, I look forward to more cities being added this year to this worthwhile program. The joined forces of our historic memorandum of understanding have forged an excitement amongst our Sigma Beta Club members, our male youth mentoring program, to become environmental stewards. Our future leaders are looking forward to the engagement that the USFWS will provide at our International Conclave in July 2015 in Little Rock, Arkansas.
In keeping with our initiative’s mandate to focus on “securing the future of our boys and young men of color,” I plan on making sure that the youth are engaged in outdoor recreation on public lands to promote health through physical activity, overseeing their pursuit of biological sciences careers through stewardship and STEMs, building national, regional and local conservation partnerships and engaging Sigma as a voice on conservation issues.
Thanks to Dan Ashe, Noemi Perez and the USFWS Team, Dr. Mario Brown and all Sigmas that have helped to lead this effort. We welcome everyone reading this statement to join with us as we continue to make a difference in the lives of young individuals. We forever thrust our cause speed on its ways and hold fast to our motto, “Culture for Service and Service for Humanity.
Jonathan A. Mason, Sr.