Since his initiation in June of 1990, in the Hyattsville/Landover (MD) Alumni Chapter nearly 27 years ago, Douglas V. Scarbor has served in many roles of the fraternity, including Board of Directors, Reporter, Guide Right Chairman, Vice Polemarch and Polemarch, Webmaster, Intake (local and province), and Eastern Province Guide Right Director, but his passion has always been serving as a mentor and role model within Guide Right.
Unlike many of his neighborhood peers, as a youth, Scarbor was fortunate to grow up in a two-parent home in a rough North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “Growing up around there was not the easiest thing, but I had a lot of people looking out for me,” he remembers. “I’m fortunate enough to come from a two-parent household, and one of those ‘It takes a Village to raise a child,” community, where all of his neighbors were involved too, he said. “I grew up two blocks away from grandmother’s house, so he was back and forth there all the time.”
Scarbor said he was not involved in any of the youth programs offered by Kappa Alpha Psi while growing up, because his family never knew about them, “but I can (now) see the impact that those kind of things have on the youth, and once I went to college I was able to look at things a whole lot differently in my neighborhood, and I was fortunate to be able to get on that path.” He attended the University of Pittsburgh, and graduated in 1985, with a Bachelor of Science in Information Science. It was during his college years, learning about Guide Right, that he set his sights on mentoring. “My goal, really, was to work with young men, to get them to see that there’s something different; that all that they see in their neighborhood, or around their way, there’s more than that, and they should strive to get to that more.”
Years later, in 1990 when he interviewed with the fraternity for membership, he recounted that the main thing he was focused on was Guide Right; dealing with the youth. “That to me is the most important thing, because of the impact that we can have on young lives, to guide them in the right direction.”
Now, serving as National Guide Right Vice Chairman on the Executive Guide Right Committee (since 2015), Scarbor’s passion is resolute. Crediting the leadership of past Chairman L’Mani Viney, and the current leadership of Brothers Kevin Burnett and Oscar Neely, he says, “There was no way I could have even imagined the personal growth and professional growth that being around the brothers have afforded me, and I’m grateful for that. Under the leadership of L’Mani Viney, we have made a complete paradigm shift in what people thought about Guide Right…we’re looking at it as a complete organization, not just individual pockets of brothers doing mentoring. We’re standardizing things across the chapters. We’re getting us all on the same page as far as the goals we are trying to achieve.”
Though he does admit, there have been challenges, including securing funds and manpower from the membership. “Guide is our national service project and is widely known for the work we do with our young men, and that’s all well and good, but…It never gets the top billing that it should have, it can often get pushed to the side, especially for other initiatives that are making money for the fraternity. That was the most challenging, and getting brothers to actually do Guide Right. You would think that since most brothers committed to mentoring the young men in their quest to become members, but when it comes time to actually do it, you have to track them down.” His message is, if your serious about Guide Right, then be serious, because it takes a lot of stamina, and a lot of commitment.
Still, Scarbor remains optimistic. “When you can get the funds, and the resources (more participation from the members), the impact we make on the community is just astounding. We constantly hear from the parents of our Guide Right kids that we work with, how fortunate they are that we’re in their young men’s lives,” he said. He hopes to eventually see more uniformity of the program throughout the provinces, without taking away the flexibility and creativity of the chapters. “What I would like to see, is for us to still follow that same path and grow it to where all across the country, we have one Guide Right voice. We’re all doing the same thing, and impacting the students in our community…on a much, much bigger level,” he said.
Scarbor is unsure of what might lie ahead of him, but the one thing he is sure of, is the impact Guide Right has had on his life. “It’s more rewarding than anything I’ve ever done. Obviously, we don’t get paid for this, but…if I was independently wealthy, that is what I would be doing, because that has more value to the community. My job (as a Systems Engineer with Lockheed Martin) does some pretty deep stuff, but as far as the impact to the community, that’s the most important thing, because when we look at the successes we’ve had as individuals; brothers who have been around awhile, had a lot of success personally and professionally, what is the point of having that success, if you can’t share it with someone else, and help them take that same path? If you’ve amassed all this knowledge and all these skills, and you die and take it with you, then what was the point (if) you’ve never used it to make any benefit to anyone else but yourself? To me that’s very selfish. So, Guide Right give us the opportunity to share with others in hope that it will shine the light on something, and it will take them on a path that they never expected they would go on.”