Rites of Passage

Special Announcement: Unfortunately, due to financial constraints, the “Rites of Passage” phase will not be offered this summer. Therefore, we will not induct new members in the Emerging Leaders Mentorship Program for Black Male Youth (ELMP). This is a very unfortunate situation that is denying 40 black male youth the opportunity to be participate in rigorous leadership development activities.

I pray that one day grant funders, community leaders, and concerned citizens will realize that it is more economical to invest in programs that provide PROACTIVE services to prevent black male youth from engaging in negative behavior than to invest in programs that provide REACTIVE services to rehabilitate black male you after they have engaged in negative behavior.

Susan Woods, Founder & Executive Director


The “Rites of Passage” is the first phase of the Emerging Leaders Mentorship Program for Black Male Youth (ELMP). After an extensive application process that includes completing an application, securing three letters of recommendation, and participating in a panel interview, selected candidates are officially inducted into the six-week “Rites of Passage” phase.


Our goal is to induct 40 new members between the ages of 13-15 years old into the “Rites of Passage” phase each summer. While participating in the Rites of Passage, the new members are provided the opportunity to attend leadership development classes daily. These classes are facilitated by prominent black men from the community who prepare and facilitate 45-minute lectures that allow them to share their “keys to success”. The lectures also prove to the members that they can also be successful in the wide range of fields the guest speakers represent which includes manufacturing, politics, health care, the legal profession and more.


The specific topics that are covered are listed below:

  • Personality Assessment
  • Tracing Your Roots (Genealogy)
  • Talent Discovery
  • Fitness & Nutrition
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Hypertension
  • Human Sexuality (Abstinence)
  • Tai Chi
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Substance Abuse
  • Mental Health
  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Attention Deficient Disorder (ADD)
  • Prostate Cancer
  • HIV Prevention
  • 401 K Plans
  • Budgeting: Needs vs. Wants
  • Balancing Checkbooks
  • Identify Theft
  • Stock Market 101
  • Gang Prevention
  • USA Geography
  • Music Appreciation
  • How Credit Scores Work
  • Presidential Biographies
  • Dining Etiquette
  • Teen Domestic Violence
  • Family Values (how to be a husband and father)
  • The Virtues of Monogamy
  • Business, Sports, Entertainment Law
  • The Political Process
  • The Advantages & Disadvantages of Social Networking
  • How the Legal System Works
  • Misdemeanor vs. Felony
  • Civil Law vs. Criminal Law
  • Racial Profiling
  • Prison Industrial Complex
  • Teen Domestic Violence
  • Consequences of Bad Decisions
  • Dress for Respect: Image Matters!
  • Cover Letter & Resume Writing
  • Interview Techniques
  • College Preparation
  • Military Career Options
  • Trades Career Options
  • Career Planning
  • Civic Responsibility
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Your Rights & Responsibilities in the Workplace


The six-week “Rites of Passage” phase also includes two standard courses: 1)Spiritual Enrichment Devotionals (Bible Study); and 2) Black History Appreciation. These classes are taught daily to build a firm foundation of confidence in the members.

(Monday – Thursdays)

  • 07:30 am – 08:00 am = Arrival
  • 08:00 am – 09:00 am = Breakfast
  • 09:00 am – 09:45 am = Bible Study Devotional
  • 09:45 am – 10:30 am = Black History Appreciation
  • 10:30 am – 10:45 am = Break
  • 10:45 am – 11:30 am = Topic of the day
  • 11:30 am – 12:15 pm = Topic of the day
  • 12:15 pm – 01:30 pm = Lunch
  • 01:30 pm – 02:15 pm = Topic of the day
  • 02:15 pm – 03:00 pm = Free Your Mind
  • 03:00 pm – 04:00 pm = Summary


  • 07:30 am – 08:00 am = Arrival
  • 08:00 am – 09:00 am = Breakfast
  • 10:00 am – 04:00 pm = Community Service Project or Field Trip

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