Rites of Passage

Rites of Passage brings 20 young people of African descent into responsible adulthood every year. Based in Parma Court, a social housing community in Victoria Village, one of Toronto’s “priority neighbourhoods”, this 12 month program is based on a well-tested, internationally recognized afro-centric curriculum and includes volunteering, leadership training and employment.

Leadership skills are instilled in the young people using four pillars with their roots in the Akan tradition of West Africa.  These are:
  • Nurturing Responsible Adulthood – Young people who participate in the program are asked to reflect on what it means to be an adult and to work towards this vision.
  • Developing a Sense of Purpose – Through guided introspection and discussion, participants develop goals using their own values.
  • Building a Community Perspective – The kids are encouraged to take their strong sense of community, and translate this into action.
  • Fostering Resiliency – Feelings of self-esteem are important to young adults, but particularly crucial in a group that is treated by society and the media as having less potential.  Exercises build up a sense of self-worth, which will drive participants towards long-term personal growth, and success.

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Afro-Centric curriculum is the key

There are many programs in Toronto that reach out to young people of African descent, but Rites of Passage is the only Afro-Centric model.

We know that young people who are affected by the trauma of poverty, violence and discrimination need extra support and guidance to address the barriers these young people face every day, barriers that are related clearly to their race.

Rites of Passage takes an Afro-Centric approach because we understand that it is critical that young people of African descent develop a positive and deep connection to their community and heritage in order to feel whole and self confident.

What is the impact?

Rites of Passage tackles the social inequity affecting our young people directly, by helping young people become adults before they have to make adult decisions.

The young people who participate in Rites of Passage are guided into responsible adulthood and develop a vision of what this means using their own values. Exercises build up a sense of purpose, which will drive participants towards long-term personal growth, and success.

The graduates of Rites of Passage work directly with community organizations while serving as role models to their peers, thus contributing to a stronger, safer community.

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Learn more about how Rites of Passage works.



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