By Jennifer L. Warren
POUGHKEEPSIE – All one has to do is look at the broad smile that covers the face of Michael Addison, as a feeling of sheer joy emerges and gestures of beaming pride ripple through him to realize just what being a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. has meant to him for the past 31 years. His words tell the story as well.
“Being a member has meant absolutely everything to me; I have met great, great men and made so many lasting connections with these men of achievement,” New Windsor resident Addison said of his special fraternity brothers with whom he shares an unshakeable, lifetime bond. “It is truly an honor to not only know them but be able to intertwine with and serve the community with them, just absolutely tremendous.”
That altruistic magic was on full display Saturday evening inside Poughkeepsie’s The Grandview where several Chapters of the Fraternity convened for the 16th Annual Poughkeepsie Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Gala. Here, after a three year Pandemic-induced hiatus, a priceless celebration of that unique brotherhood Addison spoke of once again returned, honoring three community icons for their lifetime achievements. Hosted by the umbrella organization of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Beyond the Dream Foundation, the Gala raised pivotal funds to be channeled toward college scholarships- 30 which have been provided over the years- to area high school seniors in need. This commitment to youth higher education is just one of many ongoing actions- including mentoring and assisting with soup kitchens and holiday food drives- the Poughkeepsie Alumnus Chapter of the Fraternity-chartered in 1968 by 12 men, undertakes to demonstrate their mission: “The need to positively impact the Poughkeepsie community.”
Keeping that same philanthropic, forward-moving vision in mind, the Gala- true to tradition- paid tribute to three individuals who have faithfully displayed characteristics in line with their Poughkeepsie Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc. while positively leaving their indelible imprints on their communities. This year’s recipients included; Sandra Jackson for her impact in the entrepreneurial realm and Nancy Kappler- Foster and Rendesia Scott for their contributions in philanthropy.
Jackson, who hails over 20 years in human resources, is the owner of Express Employment Professionals, a full-service workforce management company in Poughkeepsie and is committed to community service, serving in several capacities at the Grace Smith House, a member of the Dutchess County Women’s Leadership Alliance and lifetime member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
“Being honored by the Beyond the Dream Foundation is meaningful to me as the owner of Express Employment Professionals,” said Jackson, who noted her partnerships with local businesses to assist them with finding qualified employees. “We work with local Hudson Valley residents, providing them with resources, training and ultimately finding them good jobs.”
Another recipient, Kappler- Foster, has spent her life positively changing the communities where she has lived. Chairperson on the Board of the Hudson Valley Credit Union, where she started as a volunteer Kappler-Foster, is also President on the Board of Trustees at the United Methodist Church. Described by Hudson Valley Credit Union Assistant Vice President, Lisa Morris, in attendance at the Gala, as “always having the Credit Union’s best interest at heart and looking for the good in people while ensuring they get recognition for their goodness, Kappler-Foster herself was humbled by the recognition.
“I was kind of surprised by the honor,” said Kappler-Foster, who was not familiar with the Fraternity but later learned two members of the Credit Union Board were members. “There are so many who could have been honored, but they chose me, and I’m very grateful they did.”
Also receiving an award for her extensive and modest philanthropy contributions was Scott. Carrying a passionate desire and purpose to serve others, Scott also possesses a huge commitment to a belief in the power of education and its ability to transform lives. The Director of Business Advising at SUNY New Paltz, Scott is actively involved in her church community and alumnae chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. is the President of the Mid-Hudson Valley National Pan-Hellenic Council’s Alumnae Chapter, establishing its Mid Hudson Valley Divine 9 Foundation, a 501©3 which has assisted Dutchess County with securing laptops, school supplies, educational needs and arts exposure as well as formed integral partnerships with the Newburgh School District and The Boys & Girls Club.
“Service came to my husband and I in college through our organizations, and it never stopped; why….because there was always a need,” said Scott, who indicated this honor was made more special by it being the first she has received for her community service, and is so grateful to the gentlemen of the Poughkeepsie Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi for. “I have always worked behind the scenes and had advocacy conversations behind closed doors because it was the right thing to do.” Thanking her husband, Dr. David Scott for his guidance and continued support as well as 50 year Kappa Alpha Psi member, Wesley Lee, “for shining the light on the work done behind the scenes,” Scott added, “Helping others is teaching them to do the same, and even though some learn, others tend to forget, but you never stop.”