First Alpha Beautillion winner backs programme
Dantae Williams is a prime example of the good that comes from paying it forward.
He took home the crown in the inaugural Alpha Beautillion in 2002.
The 32-year-old now chairs the Beautillion Committee and is also president of the charity behind it, the Epsilon Theta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.
“Seeing the impact on myself and other young men I definitely wanted to be involved,” said Mr Williams, a lawyer with Marshall, Diel & Myers Ltd.
“As a student, and former participant of the Alpha Beautillion programme, I was fortunate to receive an opportunity to improve my networking skills.
“The Alpha Beautillion programme challenged me to leave my comfort zone and begin preparing for my career by improving my communication skills, networking skills and reminding me to remain grounded and focused on my community.
“The Fraternity has a number of lawyers — Aubrey Pennyman, Barclay Simmons, Wayne Caines, the late Arnold Francis — all of whom have imparted experiences of success, failure and encouragement in my pursuits.
“Most importantly, the Fraternity reinforced a family mantra that success should ultimately be defined not by your achievements, but by what you are willing to do for others.”
The Epsilon Theta Lambada Chapter was established in Bermuda in 1950 by a group of men who joined the Fraternity while studying at universities in the US: Collingwood Burch, Eustace Cann, Lawrence Clark, Roy Dismont, Frederick Furbert, Hilton Hill II, Alfred Hinson, Charles Smith, Thomas Stowe and Winton Williams.
Their aim was to make “meaningful contributions” to the community through mentoring and educational programmes.
“Alpha Phi Alpha is about building up the community, building bridges so we as a community can overcome any obstacles,” said Mr Williams.
“A number of our programmes are geared towards the youth because we see the worth that they have.
“Sometimes they just need somebody to say that they believe in them and to push them.”
Project Alpha is the first in a series of annual events planned as part of Alpha Week; the last is a black-tie ball on Saturday night.
“Project Alpha aims to tackle the growing amount of teenage pregnancies in Bermuda with a sexual awareness programme to educate young males about the associated risks and to help them understand their role in prevention,” Mr Williams said.
“This year we’re focusing on middle-school males to talk about abstinence, safe sex, respectful relationships and the importance of this in protecting their future.
“Today and tomorrow we will attend all public middle schools, speaking to males between the ages of 12 and 15, just to encourage them and enlighten them on the importance of being sexually aware.
“In the past we have attended senior schools, but there are also concerns at the middle-school level.
“We felt that they could benefit from this type of discussion; it’s no longer a taboo subject in that age group.
“It’s something I’ve dealt with in the courtroom and it’s important that males — and females — are aware of the effects, the ramifications of their actions.”
The Fraternity will meet with sports heads for a think-tank at 6pm at CedarBridge Academy on Thursday.
“Residents are invited to attend the free event, which will discuss whether clubs continue to meet the needs of our ever-changing community.
“Regrettably, there have been a number of violent incidents that have happened at clubs in Bermuda,” Mr Williams said. “It’s thought that there’s a lot of antisocial behaviour which isn’t, in our view, what their mandate is.
“We’re hoping to reopen the lines of communication and get community support to take our clubs back. [The idea was we would] put our minds together to come up with a solution to get clubs being the most productive they can be — serving the community as they intended on serving it and being a haven for our young people.”
Students have been invited to join the Fraternity at St Paul AME Centennial Hall for breakfast at 8.30am the following day.
Fraternity member Zuri Darrell, a relationship manager at Butterfield Bank and former Devonshire Colts youth team coach, will speak at the free event.
“We sent out letters to all the schools and invited them to attend so they can meet with industry leaders who will share their stories of success and failure, encouraging them to triumph over whatever difficulties they may be facing,” Mr Williams said.
“It’s also a good opportunity for students to begin the networking process in their field of aspirations.”
Business leader Patrick Tannock will speak at the Black & Gold Ball on Saturday. Festivities begin at 6.30pm at Fairmont Southampton.
“It’s our signature black-tie event,” Mr Williams said. “It’s an opportunity for the Fraternity to thank the community for their ongoing support, to thank our corporate sponsors [who enable] a number of programmes that wouldn’t exist without them. We highlight other community service groups and persons for their work in the community.”
Learn more here: http: bermudaalpha.bm
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