Rites of Passage Program
The Brotherhood/Sister Sol’s Rites of Passage (ROP) Program is the foundation of the organization. Our goal is to empower youth through discovery and discussion of history, culture, social problems, and the political forces surrounding them. We establish partnerships with public secondary schools to develop gender-specific (Brotherhood or Sister Sol) chapters, each consisting of 10 to 18 youth members and two adult Chapter Leaders. The Chapter Leaders facilitate weekly sessions and serve as mentors, supporters, confidantes, counselors, teachers, and more. They build trusting relationships and offer guidance to the chapter members as they face the challenges of young adulthood.
During the intensive four- to six-year ROP process, members learn critical thinking and global awareness skills through leadership development, drug awareness, conflict resolution, political education, community service, and other activities. Each chapter develops a Mission Statement and collectively defines what it means to be a sister/brother, woman/man and leader. Members also create individual Oaths of Dedication–personal testimonies to how they will live their lives. The program is structured around our ten curriculum focus issues, incorporating topics such as Pan African and Latino History, Sexism and Misogyny, and Political Education and Social Justice.
- Become independent and resourceful
- Strive for one’s highest personal potential
- Develop leadership skills and a sense of community responsibility
- Demonstrate knowledge of our curriculum issues and the world
- Build self-esteem, confidence, and self-respect
- Explore beyond their comfort zone and challenge themselves
- Embrace the ideals of brotherhood and sisterhood
- Discover one’s individual, creative voice
Working toward these goals, we provide a safe space where youth can learn life skills and discuss topics important to them that are not covered in school. Members explore ideas of community, equality, and diversity, and build friendships in an environment that promotes their positive development as women/men, sisters/brothers, and leaders. We encourage youth to embrace the power, passion, and possibility inherent within them, and to use their talent to benefit themselves and their communities.
The Chapter Leaders facilitate weekly sessions and serve as mentors, supporters, confidantes, counselors, teachers, and more.
ROP is Split Into Three Components
Chapter Leaders facilitate weekly two-hour Chapter sessions. They create a safe space where members learn about and discuss topics related to our ten focus areas and other themes relevant to Black and Latino youth. Each Chapter selects a name, develops a Mission Statement, and collectively defines what it means to be a sister/brother, woman/man, and leader.
These statements become core values each member strives to achieve, and they help members recognize the power of their Chapter to provide unconditional love, guidance and support for them. Members have 24/7 access to their Chapter Leaders, which is essential to building long-term, meaningful bonds.
Critical Thinking/Knowledge of Self/Global Awareness
The ultimate goal of this stage is to help youth develop the ability to analyze complex issues and make informed, sensitive decisions. These skills are essential for our members to fully understand themselves and the world they have inherited. Guest speakers, literature, and multi-media presentations during sessions help youth sharpen their creative problem-solving skills and increase their self-awareness.
Chapter Leaders take youth on cultural outings, conferences, wilderness retreats and college tours in order to broaden their experiences and world-view. A key component of our youth’s creative expression is their writing. In 2003, we published Voices of The Brotherhood/Sister Sol, a collection of our youth members’ poetry, writings, Mission Statements, Definitions, and Oaths of Dedication. This collection affirms their creative visions and further validates their struggles, while inspiring other youth who are uniquely engaged by the writing of their peers.
Rites of Passage
The final phase begins with an intensive process of self-reflection, community and global analysis, and culminates in the creation of an Oath of Dedication. This is a personal statement describing individual beliefs, goals, and the commitments s/he will strive to live by throughout life. Upon completing the Oath process, the youth take on greater leadership roles within their chapter. They facilitate sessions and provide support and guidance to younger members. Members also show leadership and commitment to strengthening their chapters by recruiting new members.