The Sisters in Sisterhood (SIS) Rites of Passage experience focuses on young women ages 8-19. The program ushers girls through the minefield of adolescence, preparing them as puberty rites initiates to graduate as confident and focused young women with clear goals and aspirations for their future.
The Rites of Passage program leads students through a minimum of a two yearlong process of learning practical information about health and sexuality, building awareness of their cultural heritage, and making connections with a local and international community of women. In addition, the program provides students with a historical and contemporary perspective of global race and gender issues as they relate to young girls and women of African descent. The SIS program is subdivided into three separate age levels: “Pre-Rites” serves youth ages 8 to 11, “Transition Rites” serves youth 12-13, and “Teen Rites” serves youth ages 14-19 creating three separate and sequential tracks. Programs classes are located at Ifetayo’s on-campus location and at partner public schools.
The average student has been a member of the Rites of Passage Program for seven years. We attribute our retention success to the following:
- Girls and young women are given the opportunity to explore and research spiritual traditions while defining a sense of spiritual identity that resonates with family traditions and personal comfort levels
- Sisters join a community in which her voice is actively sought and respected
- Sisters participate in the extended family model and begin to develop additional solutions for problem solving
- Sisters develop a strong sense of sisterhood, forming relationships based upon trust and community
- A comprehensive range of supportive services and programs available through the Ifetayo facility
Program goals are:
- To provide direct training in personal and professional skill development, conflict resolution, sexual awareness, pregnancy prevention and community leadership.
- To improve academic performance.
- To improve vocational viability.
- To assure a high level of college matriculation.
- To support and build positive interactions with family members.
- To support effective communication, nonviolent conflict resolution, and tools to avoid destructive behaviors.
- To decrease the number of youth who are involved in gang activity and/or interface with the criminal justice system.
- To teach girls and young women successful life skills through goal setting and planning.
- To provide opportunities for participation in modern day coming-of- age rituals.
- To help each sister develop and act upon her responsibility to engage in service activities within her community and aid in its development.
Elements I am woman, mother of the elements. In my hands behold the wind. In my eyes behold the fire. In my vivacious trot behold the current of water. In my womb behold the EARTH.
– Edo Young, Sisters in Sisterhood graduate