The Rites Programs used in America originated in Africa. This African Rites tradition is an academic system of teaching through scholastic and experiential exercises. The program is designed to facilitate, build and strengthen the following life skill competencies in our youth:
The Rites Programs´ youth initiates transition into adulthood through the passing on of knowledge and tradition by trained and certified Elders from the community. The Elders facilitate the youth through numerous challenges, experiential exercises and workshops. In the African tradition, the youth must ask for the RITE (right) or permission OF PASSAGE (passing on) to a higher level of human social and educational development. After the youth have demonstrated competency in their academic and personal development during the rites program, the Elders in the community grant permission to their RITE OF PASSAGE.
Why is the Rites of Passage Youth Empowerment Program needed?
Our children are in emergency mode and trying to survive in a hostile environment. Many are seeking help and one of the most prevalent organizations readily extending their hand to listen and nurture these children are gangs. These gangs have cruel and vicious “rite of passage” initiations that leave our children, families and communities devastated. There are too many parents burying their children or visiting them in jail due to this cruel and heartless tradition that is claiming the lives of our children and the foundation of our future. The “Village” residents are left with the task of protecting the youth from a life of drug use, violence and pregnancy.
The youth are making adult decisions regarding their sexual behavior. Drug use exacerbates this decision. Youth who have adopted sexual promiscuity, abusive drug habits and delinquent behaviors are more likely to fail academically and to have poor communication skills. This all leads to poor self-esteem and consequently the vicious circle of being unable to say no to drugs, delinquency, and pregnancy. Stronger and better law enforcement is not the sole answer. Preventive measures are necessary so that the youth never enter the juvenile justice system due to delinquency or illegal drug use.
Many of these maladaptive behaviors start at a time when one is supposed to be making that critical transition through adolescence into adulthood by searching for and developing their identity. Unfortunately, many youth do not have the opportunity for positive self-growth, learning how to handle responsibilities and expectations of adulthood that influences their social, emotional and political competencies in order to be productive contributors of society. A young person´s first line of defense against the three dis-eases of drugs, delinquency and pregnancy is their own moral compass, which is a product of values internalized from their family, community and spirituality (a sense of sacredness in their lives). The Rites Foundation intercedes to stop this national trend.