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 twelve curriculum focus issues, incorporating topics such as Pan African and Latino History, Sexism and Misogyny, LGBTQ Rights & History, and Political Education and Social Justice.

Our Objectives

  • Our Objectives
  • 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

ROP is Split Into Three Components

Stage One:
Brotherhood/Sisterhood Building
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.

Stage Two
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.

Stage Three
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.


Bro/Sis Teenage Pregnancy Rate


of Bro/Sis alumni have graduated from high school or earned a GED

“I believe so deeply in the life-saving work that The Brotherhood/Sister Sol is dedicated to: values and skills building that empower young people and keep them on course; helping young people to see and develop the extraordinary within themselves; ensuring their safe passage to adulthood. It is surely one of the most incredible organizations in the nation. Their work is catalytic! Their leadership, their services and outcomes are without peer. Simply put, The Brotherhood/Sister Sol does the work that few others will or even know how to do…. They have answered the call to repair the village, to secure the children. It’s our responsibility to ensure they have all they need to do God’s work.”

Susan L. Taylor

Founder & CEO, National CARES Mentoring Movement, Editor in Chief, Essence Magazine

“[The Brotherhood/Sister Sol] is using their passion to uplift and inspire a next generation through extraordinary work that creates leaders and a sanctuary for children…. where their members can develop a higher vision of themselves.”

Oprah Winfrey

Founder of the OWN

NYC Teens Run Farmers Market in Hamilton Heights, WNBC

A group of enterprising New York City teenagers are getting some farm-fresh learning this summer. The youngsters recognized a need for fresh fruits and vegetables in their neighborhood and as John Chandler reports, they’re getting an education while fulfilling it.

HuffingtPost’s Op Ed, We Will Win, by Khary Lazarre-White

Intersectionality speaks to a world-view and perspective – a way to analyze overlapping forms of identity and varied experiences and also systems of oppression, a lens with which to view struggle and freedom that is inclusive…

Capital Press Release

The Brotherhood/Sister Sol announces $10.3 million dollars in funding toward the construction of the leading out of school time building in New York City – the creation of a model for the nation.

Making Change by Changing the Story

“We in the nonprofit sector are tackling some of the most difficult issues of our time,” says Khary Lazarre-White, co-founder and executive director of The Brotherhood/Sister Sol (Bro/Sis), a youth development organization based in Harlem that aims to cultivate a theory of change among disadvantaged youth.

What is Worth Fighting For, an Op Ed from Cidra Sebastien

When black and brown girls are videotaped beating each other down, the blame game quickly starts. It happened when video of a fight at a Brooklyn McDonald’s went viral. Everyone joins in to accuse and shame: What’s wrong with these girls?

Bold in Action: Passing it On

1995 Echoing Green Global Fellow Jason Warwin, co-founder of The Brotherhood/Sister Sol. Offering a peer group that provides guidance and support to Black and Latino kids without a lot of direction is the primary focus of Jason’s org.

Bro/Sis 8th Annual Womens Tea with Chirlane Mccray

The Sister Sol branch of The Brotherhood/Sister Sol celebrated 15 years of service on December 7, 2013. Columbia University’s Faculty House provided a quaint setting for the event’s nearly 140 participants.

Black teen pregnancy hits historic low

New data shows that, in a number of areas — teen pregnancy, violent crime and increasing gradation rates — black youths have made significant gains. Experts say it’s time that the perception matches the reality.

Khary Lazarre-White on Chris Hayes

Executive Director & Co-Founder Khary Lazarre-White featured on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes on Election Night! Commentators discussed governors’ race, democratic wins and landslide victory of Mayor-elect Bill De Blasio.

Manhood and Violence

Stopping the scourge of violence inflicted on black men -Opinion Piece by Khary Lazarre-White

NY Stop-and-Frisk Victims Win Right to Sue Police

After months of heated debate, in a late night session on June 26, New York City Council passed two bills with veto-proof majorities that will increase oversight of the NYPD and strengthen racial profiling.

Amar’e Stoudemire visits Bro/ Sis

New York Knicks star Amar’e Stoudemire visited The Brotherhood/Sister Sol yesterday and gifted Nike shoes, Scholastic books, and Steiner Sports gifts and toys to our members through his Amar’e Stoudemire Foundation.

Harlem youth learn life lessons through summer internships

Last week several elected officials, including Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., City Council Speaker Christine M. Quinn and Council Members Robert Jackson and Inez Dickens, announced a new pilot program to give summer internships to youth in Central Harlem.

Work with youth feeds Khary’s ‘Sol’

Khary Lazarre-White provides a shining example of what a community nonprofit youth organization can become. Celebrating its 15th year, Bro/Sis currently serves as a beacon for youth in Harlem ranging in ages from 6 to 22.

Black Gives Back

Young leaders gather to benefit The Brotherhood/Sister Sol: Reverend Al Sharpton and philanthropist Carla Harris host a cocktail reception to benefit the visionary non profit organization.

City Limits: Growing Grown-Ups In Harlem

Welcome to Annual Planting No. 4 at the garden of Brotherhood/SisterSol, a West Harlem nonprofit that guides kids through the gauntlet of urban adolescence.

The Long Drive From Harlem

Last weekend, 15 young men came here to walk the bright green lawns, to sit in the plush lecture-hall chairs, and to peek inside the academic buildings made of gray stone, red brick, and green glass. They came to ask questions and take notes.

Herizons: Is Feminism Men’s Work, Too?

Herizons interviews Khary Lazarre-White about The Brotherhood/Sister Sol’s commitment to deconstructing sexism and misogyny, promoting sexual education and responsibility and reducing gender bias as part of its youth development model.

Why the Wealthy Must Worry About Harlem

Harvard Law Professor Lani Guinier addresses guests at The Brotherhood/Sister Sol’s benefit, saying that Bro/Sis is “investing in our collective future.”

Equal Opportunity for All Children

Co-Founder and Executive Director Khary Lazarre-White talks about Bros/Sis youth development model, which fosters social change by raising expectations and providing support to young people.

Oprah Winfrey Show

Oprah celebrates Bro/Sis Co-Founders Khary Lazarre-White and Jason Warwin and their new twist on mentoring.

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