Omega ‘LifeStyle Choices’ forum aims to help young students lay a strong foundation for future
“Not boys masquerading as men,” said the Rev. Kevin Cosby, president of Simmons College of Kentucky, as he spoke at the 15th annual LifeStyle Choices Forum for African American Young Men presented by the Theta Omega and Phi Eta chapters of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
The forum, held at U of L’s Student Activities Center, is designed to mentor young students on making proper lifestyle decisions and cultivate a way of thinking so they will make good choices now to lay a strong foundation for a successful future.
“It’s all about choices,” said Lester Sanders, social activities chair and head of the planning committee for the fraternity. “It’s so critical from this point to make the right choices.”
The daylong event, held at the Student Activities Center and the Red Barn on campus, featured a keynote address by Dr. Nat Irvin II, professor of management for the school’s College of Business, as well as numerous workshops and sessions on various topics, such as history, music, dealing with the opposite sex and handling peer pressure.
“You can have friends, but you don’t have to follow their lead,” said Sydney Tedford, a Central High School freshman.
Tedford, who plays football, basketball and runs track at Central, said he learned at the forum that he can follow his own path.
Cosby stressed the importance of a good education during his spirited speech, as well as a message of understanding how to accept change during the school years. He called the forum’s sessions and workshops “mental vitamins” for the students.
One session titled “The Music, The Media and You” dealt with the negative influences of hip-hop music.
Shawn Pipkin, a sophomore at Buechel High School, said the workshop opened his eyes on how listening to his favorite rap music prompts him to call women names that are inappropriate.
He said he learned it’s important to understand when something is having a negative effect on him.
“Basically, we need to change the people who influence us (negatively),” he said.
Pipkin said this was the second year in a row he’s attended the forum.
“It’s getting better and better every year,” he said. “The speakers and classes are good… they make you want to understand.”