The Brooklyn Long Island Kappa League is a program for young men of color in grades 6th through 12th that aims to provide leadership, educational, and career-ready skills that ensure success. Shawn Mason provides insight and knowledge for the participants of the Brooklyn Long Island Kappa League as he serves as the ‘Guide Right’ chairman and advisor. He emphasizes the importance of education and the value of being a great leader in one’s community as well.
Mason is a 25-year certified New York City Department of Education teacher, as well as a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. He’s from the Southside of Jamaica, Queens and described his time growing up as one that has driven the passion behind the work and service he continues to do today. Mason shared how some of the setbacks he was faced with growing up pushed his limits, reminding him that there is nothing he cannot accomplish. “Not allowing childhood poverty, abuse, and the struggles of everyday life to bind me mentally, and understanding that I have a purpose in this world, and staying true to who I am, has reminded me that there’s nothing I cannot accomplish, and I get that faith, strength, courage, and wisdom from my mother and grandmother, who always instilled that in me,” said Mason.
Mason has been a great leader in his community with his involvement in the BLI Kappa League, as he expressed, “I have a passion for leadership development when it comes to helping young men, in making sure that they have the tools and skills necessary to be successful.” The BLI Kappa League provides young men with a plethora of opportunities that allow them to get familiar with vital subjects of success, such as college prep, financial literacy, STEM, and various community service initiatives. One of the main targets of this program is prioritizing men’s success through activities and opportunities that aim to give them the ability to explore the many career paths they wish to pursue. This prepares them for what Mason calls “career readiness” which is an essential aspect to preparing them for life post-grad and beyond. “I make sure my kids are civically engaged in various ways, like making sure that they are constantly involved in community service, the college tours, and the innovation panels we hold,” explained Mason.
This past month, on June 12, The Brooklyn Long Island Kappa League held their college signing ceremony, where several young men were highlighted for their academic successes and accomplishments. Among some of the scholarships and awards given was the Oprah Winfrey Scholar award, which looks for someone who embodies the true values that the BLI Kappa League possesses. Jalen Williams is the recipient of the Oprah Winfrey scholarship to Morehouse College which means his college education is paid for a full four years due to his participation and civic engagement in the program. “This young man embodies what the Kappa League represents—he is the ultimate example of what I continue to hope the Kappa League can continue to provide for these young men,” expressed Mason.
The devotion Shawn Mason puts forth in his work will lead him and the BLI Kappa League to all of the great successes it’s destined for. Mason’s ultimate hope for the League would be to eventually be able to provide every one of these young men with scholarships, and most importantly to witness them excel in whatever profession they embark upon in life. “To see each of these young men be successful in their various career fields and that they are in turn now giving back and investing back in their communities would be my ultimate hope,” he concluded.