Alpha Phi Alpha: Serving the Community

James Hankins recalls the community service and mentoring opportunities he had as a brother in the Eta Omicron chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity during the early 2000s..

Interview on 2011-07-14


00:00:00.000 We were able to get out in the community and do a lot of good things,
00:00:03.091 which is service, which is our main focus. We were able to do that and I was able to see other African American males who were interested in service,
00:00:13.115 and unfortunately coming into school you don't see that readily from a lot of your colleagues, and that's just the way things are right now.
00:00:21.647 Joining Alpha Phi Alpha, becoming a brother in Eta Omicron, allowed me to see other people that had the passion for service that I had, and it was fantastic.
00:00:34.335 We had an opportunity one time where we got to mentor some kids who were preparing for the SAT.
00:00:42.243 It wasn't a lot of kids; it was maybe two or three black males or whatnot and a supervisor or two.
00:00:51.638 We sat down with them and we kind of talked with them, kind of helped them with math, which is kind of funny because I'm terrible at math so I was struggling too. [Laughs]
00:00:59.874 I said, y'all have any reading questions, I got you. You got some math questions we got some engineers over there. That's what they do.
00:01:05.971 But that moment was really powerful to me because those kids really looked up to what we were doing for them,
00:01:15.522 and the immediate reaction we got from them was that they wanted to do what we have done. They wanted to join an organization when they got to college.
00:01:27.119 It's funny, because when you do that what happens is these kids see that and they say, I want to join this organization. I want to be in this Greek organization.
00:01:35.038 Well what's the first step? You have to get into a college or university to do so, so that gets them focused on education a little bit more.
00:01:43.368 They want to have the fun and enjoy themselves and do the stuff that we do, but they are focused on education a little bit more because they realize in order to do that I have to get into a college or university
00:01:52.541 and I have to do well because there's a GPA requirement. There's things they have to take control of.
00:01:57.376 That was a powerful moment for me, and ironically one of the students that was there, a year later he was a student in my class at the first school I taught in when I graduated.