Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation began collaboratively implementing Project Alpha in 1980. This collaborative project is designed to provide education, motivation and skill-building on issues of responsibility, relationships, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases for young males ages 12-15 years. Designed to provide young men with current and accurate information about teen pregnancy prevention, Project Alpha consists of a series of workshops and informational sessions conducted by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity brothers. The three goals of Project Alpha programs are:
- Sharing Knowledge by combating ignorance and fear with factual information.
- Changing Attitudes by providing motivation toward positive changes in sexual behavior.
- Providing Skills by creating a sense of empowerment and self-esteem.
Project Alpha week, which started in 2000, targets the second week of October every year. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. chapters all across the country execute the program with their local March of Dimes to implement Project Alpha programs.
- Provides education for young males 12-15 years old on sexuality, fatherhood and the role of males in relationships.
- Motivates young men to make decisions about their goals and values, and act in ways that support their decisions.
- Builds young men’s skills through role-playing. Utilizes appropriate male role models and mentors.
Project Alpha Curriculum
The Project Alpha curriculum focuses on five key topics:
- Responsibility, Respect and the Role of Males in Relationships
- Adolescent Pregnancy and Fatherhood
- Protecting Yourself and Your Partner
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases
- Intimate Violence in Relationships
A 20-year Collaboration
For more than 20 years, the men of Alpha Phi Alpha have been working with the staff and volunteers of the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, taking Project Alpha to hundreds of communities and thousands of teen males. Alpha Phi Alpha and the initiation of Project Alpha Began in the late 70s in Chicago by the Brothers of Iota Delta Lambda. The relationship with the MOD came later in 1982, which led to the program becoming a national program.
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity has been a national WalkAmerica team since 1998.
Material Order Information
For more information on how to order Project Alpha Materials (Click Here)
Frequently Asked Questions
Wilbur Jackson, National Project Alpha Coordinator for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., answers to the most frequently asked questions about the Project Alpha program.
I would like to set up a Project Alpha program. Who needs to be involved?
When setting up a Project Alpha program, there should be a Project Alpha Committee that is lead by an Alpha Phi Alpha Chairperson (also called the Project Alpha Coordinator) and representatives from the Educational and/or National Programs Committee of the local Alpha Phi Alpha chapter. The committee should also include two to three young men from the target audience, a March of Dimes representative and local community leaders from organizations, agencies and institutions that serve young men in the community.
How can my agency get involved with the program?
You may contact the local chapters of Alpha Phi Alpha or the March of Dimes to learn about programs in your area. When contacting the local Alpha Phi Alpha chapter, ask for either the Chapter President, or the Project Alpha Coordinator. Links to national and chapter offices of Alpha Phi Alpha and the March of Dimes are provided at the bottom of this page.
Who is the target audience for the program?
Project Alpha program materials are designed to be used with young men between ages 12 and 15 years old who are enrolled in middle school, high school, or alternative program. The program attempts to reach younger adolescents before they have established risk-taking behavior that may be difficult to reverse.
My community is very sensitive when it comes to sexuality education. How can I generate school support for the Project Alpha program?
When working with schools, it is imperative that you make contact with the principal to get his/her support for the program. Supportive school counselors, teachers, and parent groups can help to promote the program in local schools. Another way to generate support is to partner with a trusted youth-serving agency in your community. Regardless of where your program is implemented, it is essential that you obtain parental permission for each participant by using the parent consent form provided in the Project Alpha Implementation Guide.
What’s the best way to recruit young men to participate?
A comprehensive recruitment plan is essential for a successful Project Alpha program. The plan should include good publicity about the program in the community where participants will be recruited, and should go beyond churches and schools. Contacts at recreation centers, youth job-oriented programs, athletic leagues, social service agencies, and programs serving youth are all good sources for youth participants.
Where can I get funding for my program?
Financial support is available from many sources. Lack of money should never be an obstacle for implementing Project Alpha.
Check with local agencies, organizations and businesses for financial support. Ask your local March of Dimes how to apply for funding through its community grants program. Your local Support Center or United Way also may be able to direct you to local foundations that fund projects for youth in the area of pregnancy prevention, violence prevention, fatherhood, and economic empowerment.
When you contact potential funders, be specific about how much money is needed, and for what. Show which budget items you have already secured as “in-kind” donations.
In-kind donations should meet most, if not all, of your program expense needs. Project Alpha planning committee members, their employers, and other local businesses should be able to secure program facilities, food, transportation, give-away items, and some materials and equipment needed for the program for little or no cost.
How can we find excellent speakers? What qualifications should we look for in speakers and facilitators of our Project Alpha curriculum?
Local youth-serving agencies and organizations are excellent resources for locating speakers and facilitators for your Project Alpha program. Expert speakers present factual information on the topic areas of the curriculum. When recruiting expert speakers, make sure they are experienced in the topic area, dynamic, comfortable discussing the issues with young men. Facilitators moderate the conference sessions and lead group discussions. Facilitators need not be expert in any particular topic, but must have a natural ability to create an open, positive atmosphere, encourage participation, and handle a range of questions and responses that may be embarrassing or sensitive.
Since Project Alpha programs are all-male settings, it is important that speakers and facilitators are male rather than female. This will keep participants from becoming uncomfortable when discussing sensitive topic areas.
What can our Project Alpha Planning Committee do to make the program successful?
The Project Alpha Planning Committee is responsible for all tasks involved in preparing for and delivering a successful program. These tasks include: developing a sound plan; publicizing the event; recruiting participants; securing reliable and motivational speakers and facilitators; securing an appropriate location; including youths on the agenda; providing transportation if needed; providing refreshments or meals as appropriate; working on-site at the event; and helping with follow-up activities with participants. In addition to logistical tasks, the Planning Committee can help ensure quality by including potential program participants in the planning phase of the program, and setting high standards for all speakers and facilitators who will interact with the young men. Lastly, the committee should be sure to evaluate their program using evaluation forms provided in the Project Alpha materials, and reviewing these in a follow-up evaluation meeting after the conclusion of the program.
How can we evaluate the impact of our Project Alpha program?
While you may not be able to follow your participants’ progress for long periods of time after the program, there are several things you can do to evaluate your program’s success.
- At a minimum, PLEASE complete and submit the Project Alpha Conference Report Form. This is critical for monitoring Project Alpha activity at a national level.
- Second, use the Evaluation Form provided in the Project Alpha materials to assess whether your participants learned anything new, and what they found most useful and least useful. This information will help guide your planning for any subsequent programs you conduct.
- Plan at least one method for following up with your participants after the completion of the Project Alpha program. You can do this by coordinating with your co-sponsoring agencies or by contacting or reconvening the youths. When following up, try to assess how much knowledge they retained, how their behavior (or intended behavior) was influenced by the program.