Rites of Passage Program
The Rites of Passage Program is designed for girls ages 6-18 years. The program’s focus is to mentor young girls through eight monthly three hour educational workshops. The emphasis of these workshops is focused on but not limited to: character building, self discipline, ancestral history, community service, goal setting, etiquette, personal hygiene, leadership skills and higher education. The program begins in September and concludes in May.
Mentors and Volunteers
All mentors and volunteers must go through a mentor training session before they can become a mentor or volunteer. The training consist of the following topics:
- Qualities of a successful mentor
- What a mentor is and is no
- Tasks of a mentor
- What a mentee looks for in a mentor
The vision statement for Rites of Passage Program is to empower and encourage young girls with morals and values that will last a lifetime; while building character that will enable them to transition into successful women.
Happy Birthday Dr. King! Rites of Passage members prepared for the January MLK parade in Tampa by creating posters and banners dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The girls also reviewed the history of Dr. King’s journey.
In February, the members of the ROPP attended the Tampa Police Department Black History Festival in the park. The girls participated and enjoyed entertainment, games, food and educational exhibits.
2014 Rites of Passage Update
March was the time for Etiquette. Tia Young, founder of Tampa Etiquette Academy came and taught the girls “How to become a CHARMING young lady”. Topics covered included: public speaking, a proper handshake, conversation skills, social introductions, walking, sitting and standing with confidence. The girls had an opportunity to practice these newly learned skills throughout the session.
All had a great time at the Tampa Bay Storm Arena Football Game. The girls cheered the Storm on to a victory over the Philadelphia Soul. GO STORM!
Rites of Passage Members Celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday by Walking in Tampa Bay Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade Accompanied by Mr. Derrick Brooks
Derrick Brooks Charities Rites of Passage Mentoring Program 2013 Update
Rites of Passage members spent their October session creating faith bracelets in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness month, playing fun games and becoming reacquainted with old and new members. Ms. Lonnie Carson, ROP mentor shared her story about how she overcame breast cancer and how it has affected her life. The girls ended their session with a walk around Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High school in recognition of those who have fought and are still fighting breast cancer.
In November, guest speaker Pastor Hargrove spoke to the girls about being thankful, showing gratitude, sharing with others and self-respect. Following her speech, the girls had an opportunity to participate in a fun interactive Q&A activity with pastor Hargrove. She ended the discussion by reminding the girls that GOD created them all, and that they are beautifully and wonderfully made! The girls also had fun preparing kid friendly dessert recipes.
The December session was filled with lots of holiday cheer! Mentors began group sessions by speaking to the girls about the true meaning of Christmas. Following the lesson about Christmas, the girls participated in holiday themed arts and crafts projects.
Derrick Brooks Charities Rites of Passage Mentoring Program – 2011-2012
It has been a great year of mentoring for Derrick Brooks Charities Rites of Passage Program. This year’s program consisted of 37 female members and 13 mentors and volunteers. This year’s topics included: personal safety, gang awareness, appropriate dress, building self esteem, health and personal hygiene and the importance of teamwork. Members participated in community service activities, enjoyed outings to a Tampa Bay Storm arena football game, The Chocolate Nutcracker, Ringling Brothers Circus, and walked in the Martin Luther King Jr. Parade.
This year’s Miss Tampa Bay Youth Pageant theme was “Rites of Passage Girls Rock!” Everyone in the program had an opportunity to participate in this entertaining event. ROP members performed group dances and skits. Contestants talents varied from singing, lyrical dancing, poetry readings, monologues and instrumental performances. Proud parents and family members filled the audience to cheer the young ladies on. This year’s pageant winners were: Victoria Thornton- Little Miss, Shelicia Green- Junior Miss and Julia Moten- Miss.
Another event that took place was the Rites of Passage Crossing Over Ceremony. This is a celebration of young ladies 14 years and older. During this time we celebrate and acknowledge individual growth/ development and accomplishments of young ladies from one phase of life to the next. We embrace their journey by encouraging them to live life to the fullest with good health, hope, harmony and happiness. Congratulations to everyone that crossed over.
Derrick Brooks Charities is very proud and grateful for another year of mentoring to the female youth in our Tampa Bay Community.
The ROPP begins its eight month sessions starting in October and ending in May. All participants have certain requirements and guidelines that must be followed.
- Arrive for sessions on time.
- Be prepared with all given materials.
- Provide a monthly school progress report.
- Work toward a GPA of 2.5 or better.
- No profanity
- Show respect and consideration for peers and adults.
- Listen attentively and follow instructions.
- Maintain control of voice and actions at all times
- Exhibit a positive attitude toward learning and others.
- No personal belongings (i.e., ipods, cell phones, beauty items, gum, or candy).
- Contact the program coordinator when unable to attend monthly sessions.
2012 Program Updates
October 13th Session Topics: Getting Acquainted / Creating New Friendships, Setting Goals / Making the Right Choice and The importance of education
During our first official ROPP meeting each group participated in a meet and greet session. Participants and mentors had fun engaging in various ice breakers and other activities. The groups discussed the program’s guidelines, requirements and rules. Rites of Passage members were given an opportunity to talk a little about themselves as well. The groups discussed making good choices, setting short term goals, the importance of education and creating friendships. Members were also informed about our upcoming community service project that will take place in December; Stuff a Stocking with the Salvation Army. Our goal is to stuff 100 Christmas stockings for children. Items will be donated by the R0PP members and their families.
November 10th Session: Group discussion topics:
Group 1A (1st, 2nd & 3rd graders)
Topics discussed- the importance of being thankful, giving, the Presidential election and process. The members enjoyed lots interaction and their mentors closed out the session with story time.
Group 1B (4th & 5th graders)
Topics discussed- the importance of health and personal hygiene, portion size, why fruits and vegetables, processed foods, junk foods and sweets. The members also had a chance to go outdoors and watch the Brooks DeBartolo schools garden group work in their garden.
Group 2 (6th, 7th & 8th graders)
Topics discussed- recognizing personal strengths, manners, giving from the heart and giving thanks. Christmas cards were also created by members for a local group home.
Group 3 (9th - 12th graders) it
Topics discussed- Jewelry making and how it relates to self-expression, personal style and your personality, how their jewelry represented them as individuals and character building.
Fundraiser: The ROPP had its first fundraiser of the year. The Little Caesars Pizza sale was a success. The members and mentors raised $620. Way to go!
January 12, 2013 Session
Group 1A (1ST – 3RD grade)
This month members focused on the Presidential inauguration, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and the similarities between President Obama and Dr. King. Members participated in group activities that included listing their personal dreams and ways to achieve them. Other topics of the day were leadership, teamwork and sisterhood. The girls were also assigned a pinky sister. Pinky sisters look out for one another and make sure their sister is not feeling left out or uncomfortable. The girls ended their session with an arts and crafts activity.
Group 1B (4th – 5th grade)
The girls discussed the meaning of perception. How are you perceived? The members created a list of words and phrases and determined how someone could be perceived, either negative or positive. The girls also checked the progress of the Brooks DeBartolo garden while outside getting some exercise.
Group 2 (6th- 8th grade)
Topics of discussion were participating in the Judicial Teen Court Program and how that experience affected them personally. Other topics were decision making, good choices and their trip to the Straz Center to see the play Sister Act. The girls also got a chance to see operations of the play during a backstage tour.
Group 3 (9th – 12th grade)
This group began with an open floor Rap session. They then discussed expectations of the Rites of Passage Program and recent report cards. The girls talked about ways to build positive friendships. In December group members had the opportunity to attend the Sister Act performance at the Straz Center and participate in the Judicial Teen Court Program.
January’s Special Event
All members celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday by walking in Tampa’s annual MLK day parade!
February 2013 Sessions
The Rites of Passage girls were presented with two presentations during the February session. The first presentation was conducted by one of the program mentors – Attorney Constance Daniels. Attorney Daniels spoke with the young ladies about setting short and long term goals as well as what she did in order to accomplish her goal of becoming an attorney.
Attorney Constance Daniels Addressing the Rites of Passage Program Participants
The next session was conducted by Mr. Darrell Daniels, the Director for Derrick Brooks Charities Youth Programs. Mr. Daniels spoke with the young ladies about Black History facts and involved them in a group activity and Black History quiz. One of the young ladies then recited an inspirational poem that she researched and found on the Internet.
Rites of Passage Mentor Tresa Boykin and Rites of Passage Participant At the City of Tampa 25th Annual Black History Celebration – February 25, 2013.
Pictured here at the Home Depot Booth for Kids
Students and Mentors Attend the Opening Day for the Tampa Bay Storm Courtesy of Derrick Brooks Charities
March 23, 2013 – Tampa Bay Storm vs. Jacksonville Sharks
Derrick Brooks Charities Rites of Passage Mentoring Program’s Closing Ceremony
DON’T GIVE UP! These were the resounding words that rang out at Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High school during the Closing Ceremony for the Rites of Passage Mentoring Program. Guest speaker, Pastor Laura Hargrove delivered a motivational speech to the young ladies about never giving up, pursuing their dreams and standing steadfast in faith no matter what obstacles come their way. Derrick Brooks also echoed a similar message to the girls, to be encouraged, work hard and always keep the faith.
During the ceremony young ladies were recognized for attending nine monthly mentoring sessions, participating in community and fundraising projects, honor roll and perfect attendance. We are proud to say that thirty two girls received certificates for completing all nine mentoring sessions and five of them are moving on to the next phase of mentoring.
Parents and family members enjoyed watching the young ladies perform individual introductions that consisted of personal aspirations, dance performances and spoken words about etiquette, becoming an entrepreneur and maturity. The 2012 Rites of Passage Queens dedicated a belated Mother’s day poem to mother’s in the audience. After the ceremony, the girls and their families enjoyed a Sunday dinner together compliments of Derrick Brooks Charities.
Derrick and I would like to sincerely thank you, the dedicated mentors, volunteers and parents for all your support of the Rites of Passage Program throughout the years. The journey never ends it only gets better!