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Rites of Passage Program (RoP)

The Rite of Passage Program is designed to build a stronger, better community through the development of our youth. The program provides a positive environment for teenagers to discover their purpose, learn about their history, and be equipped with tools for success in life through interactive lectures, group discussions, activities and outings that instill the seven principles of Kwanzaa. 

Rite of Passage markes a time when a young person reaches a significant milestone that changes his/her life. For teenagers this is a time of great transition. They are leaving their childhood behing and starting their journey into young adulthood. 

Parents, Elders and Mentors are the backbone of this program, and thus are integral to its success. It is very important that both teens and their parents understand the commitment to achieving the goals of the program. Each participant commitment is exhibited by their personal responsibility for being prepared, and by engaging in all aspects of the program. In the rare event of an absence, notify the youth/parent coordinator as soon as possible. Excessive absences will result in dismissal from the program. 

This experience is designed to ensure that our teenagers grow mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, which is why a strong commitment to the program is necessary and required by both teens and parents. 


What is Sankofa? 

Sankofa is a cultural learning experience that focuses on the historical lives and experiences of Africans prior to colonization and their enslavement by Europeans. Sankofa helps African Americans learn about their ancestral significance on the continent of Africa, the great dynasties built by Africans, their contributions to he world in areas of math, science, art, music, education and religion. Africans were instrumental in developing and ioneering the development of medicine, large-scale building projects and creating sustainable governance of communtieis and peoples. African religion is the basis of family and community life. Many faith traditions African Americans practice around the world are the result of the influences and beliefs in the Creator God. By looking back at the greatness of Africa and Africans, African Americans gain an appreciation of their existence prior to chattel slavery in the Caribeean, South America and North America. 

Why incorporate Sankofa into the African American learning experience?
Elementary, high school and most college students are not mandated to learn about the historical significance, highly valuable and past lives of Africans prior to their transport across the Atlantic Ocean. African American history is most often taught with the introduction of Africans landing on American shores in 1619 on the Mayflower as slaves. It is important that the narratives and stories of the lives of Africans in America is experienced and taught through the lenses and expertise of other African American educators and experts. The one who controls the narrative of a people usually controls the destiny of a people. African Americans should learn and tell their stories as passed down through the ages by their ancestors or learned historians. If knowledge is power, then it is our responsibility as people of the Christian faith to teach our children, and our community about our past so that we can continue the legacy of people the people of God into the present and future. It is the lack of knowledge about oneself that causes a group of people to parish. Second Baptist Church is a faith community that encourages its members to be biblically literate, socially responsible and intellectually aware. 

Read more about the 2013 Sankofa Trip: 

Evanston Roundtable Article about Sankofa participants' journey 

If you are interested in participating in RIte of Passage or our Sankofa program, please fill out the attachment below.

Rite of Passage Reflections

8/1/2013 by Tris Holman Jerane Ransom

Washington, DC Trip to Presidential Inauguration
Traveling to Washington, DC for the inauguration of our 44th President, Barack Obama, was an eye opening, inspiring experience for Rites of Passage teens. This 4-day excursion afforded the youth and chaperones time to explore the National Mall, a central point of most sightseeing visits to ...

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