Guide Right, a partnership between the Krimson Foundation and the Alpharetta-Smyrna Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, has provided role models for African-American boys in middle and high school since 1991.
A gathering of 200 people, including mentors, young men and family members, crowded the concession area dressed in bright red to show their affiliation with the Krimson Community Foundation, which arranged the private viewing with NCG Marietta Cinemas, at 1050 Powder Springs St.
Chris Lyons, president of the local Kappa Alpha Psi chapter, said all 102 members have volunteered this year to give 73 mentees opportunities for growth with an academic focus.
Ernest Glenn, vice chairman of Krimson Community Foundation, said the need has increased each year to help boys become productive men.
The program focuses on etiquette, managing finances, public speaking and writing scholarship essays.
One star of this community partnership is Shlander Grandison II, who is finishing his freshman year at Tennessee State University after joining Guide Right six years ago.
Grandison’s mother, Renee Southland, said her son was a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America since he was 7 years old, so the opportunity to start in the program before entering high school was perfect timing.
Southland said she wanted quality men, who had wisdom and experience, to teach her son leadership skills.
Grandison is a business marketing and management major who carries on the tradition by mentoring with a community program in Nashville.
Current mentee Tyler Welsh has been in Guide Right for three years and is about to enter high school.
“I feel like this is home; this is family,” said Welsh, who added that the lessons from Guide Right, “help me to be proper.”
Welsh credits the program with helping him recognize opportunities.
“The path I am taking will take me better places,” said Welsh, who wants to be an anesthesiologist.
The film “42” is about Jackie Robinson, who blazed a path as the first African-American Major League Baseball player.
Lyons said he feels that Robinson portrayed key characteristics of pride and respect. That ties to how Kappa Alpha Psi is “trying to impart in these young men that anything is possible as long as you have support and dignity,” Lyons said.
Glenn said Robinson reaches out to young men in the movie, which helps to validate the foundation’s work.
Past events have included speakers from the National Dental Association, trips to Southern Polytechnic State University and Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as a presentation of the film “Red Tails” with the original Tuskegee Airmen in attendance.
Guide Right meets twice a month at the Fair Oaks Recreation Center.
“We are always coming together and accepting others,” Welsh said.