Inner Empowerment STEAM Rites of Passage Program | City of Ideas
Issue to be Addressed:
Our S-TEAM Rites of Passage Program and collaborative efforts will improve the lives of Black (African-American, Caribbean, Cape Verdean) and Latino boys and young men between the ages of 11-15 years old by addressing/combating the following issues:
-Black and Latino males receive many negative messages from adults and peers regarding their culture, language, self-image and their history. This results in diminishing self-esteem that contributes to poor academic performance.
-Less that 50% of black and Latino boys graduate high school in 4 years
-Young Black and Latino boys are dropping out of school 3 to 5 times more likely that Asian and White students.
-Only 6% of Black and Latinos are in the growing and lucrative careers of science, technology, engineering and math (STEAM –A(arts).
-There are not enough venues and spaces where Black and Latino boys are encouraged or empowered to share their life experience and their opinions about how to improve their lives.
-There is a need to develop more collaborations amongst non-profits, public and private institutions and organizations in order to share “best practices” when working with Black and Latino youth (particularly males).
The S-TEAM Rites of Passage “Initiates” will participate in the following:
-Setting academic and personal goals
-Tutoring and academic support
-Interactive STEAM projects (science, technology, engineering, arts and math)
-Learning about African, African-American, Latino, Caribbean and Cape Verdean History/Cultures
-Physical exercise (sports and Capoeira)
-In state and out of state field experiences including a visit to Oyotunji African Village in South Carolina
-Create a PSA about collaboration
-Character Building, Teamwork, Leadership and Conflict Resolution Training
-Learn how to be a responsible young man
-Learn how to use the Seven Principals of Kwanzaa (Nguzo Saba) everyday
Role of Collaboration:
The purpose of the collaboration is to share resources, curriculum and effective practices that will improve the social, emotional, academic and economic lives of young Black and Latino boys between the ages of 11-15 years old. Listed below are the key partners' roles (organizations and individuals) in this project.
Inner Empowerment, Inc. (IE)– Originator of collaboration and will organize all partners and be responsible for vision/mission and outcomes of Rites of Passage Program. IE will also be lead writer of Rites of Passage curriculum and planner of events, field experiences and tutoring/mentoring. Inner Empowerment will also be responsible for all reporting required for this grant.
Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Inc. (501c3 status)- The fiscal sponsor of Inner Empowerment and will fulfill all necessary duties. Prince Hall will also be responsible for co-planning character building curriculum and providing some male mentors and young boys to participate in the program.
UMass (Africana Studies Department)- Professor Tony Van Der Meer will be the lead history curriculum developer (African/African-American/Caribbean/Cape Verdean/Latino). Prof. Van Der Meer will also be the lead planner of the trip to Oyotunji Village in South Carolina in year one of the program and a trip to Cuba and or Nigeria in year two.
AAMARP (African-American Master Artists in Residency Program/Northeastern University)-L’Merchie Frazier is one of the Artist-in-Residency and will be a curriculum consultant regarding the integrated (STEAM) projects.
Tent City Apartments, South End/Roxbury- Clemencia Lee, Chairperson, Development Committee will be responsible for providing space for events and co-planning STEM curriculum. She is also President of Cultural Café which is located in the AAMARP building.
Being awarded the Collaborate Boston prize would assist our collaboration to begin the work of improving the lives and futures of black & brown boys and young men, ages 11-15, in Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan in the following ways:
-Provide the collaborative with the financial resources and materials to implement a quality program (payment for consultants, mentors, instructors, materials, transportation and lodging)
-Facilitate the opportunity for other organizations to work together
-Technical assistance regarding developing and implementing the several components of the program
-An opportunity for student to have access to STEAM curriculum and projects
-Fund trips to Oyotunji Village, South Carolina, Cuba and or Nigeria over a two year plan
The members of this collaboration are parents, educators, administrators, and community leaders/activists who live in Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan and are dedicated to working in public, charter, private schools and community organizations in Boston.
A critical component of the Rites of Passage Program is the Family Orientation and opportunities for families to participate in the program with their children.
At the end of the program, the initiates will be presented to their families and community with “African names” based on their character and journey through the process. During the ceremony they will highlight what they have learned about themselves, their cultures and communities. After the ceremony, we will have an opportunity for the partners and youth to share their experiences regarding collaborating in order to improve the lives of young boys and men.
Mawakana Onifade is the Founder and President of Inner Empowerment, Inc. She has been working in the Boston Public Schools for over 10 years and has several positions including ELA and Humanities Teacher and held school administration positions for over four years. Inner Empowerment is non-profit that is in the process of acquiring its 501c3 status. Inner Empowerment focuses on youth and adult development as well as consults with community organization and school administrators regarding team development, cultural competency and leadership development.
Compton Jones is the Grand Master of Prince Hall Masonic Grand Lodge in Dorchester/Grove Hall. Naheem Garcia is the Chair of Youth Affairs. He directs Know The Law with youth actors and implemented the Mother-Son Dance at Prince Hall. He is also an Outreach Director at Huntington Theatre and works to bring middle and high schools to see plays.
Prof. Tony Van Der Meer works at UMass in the Africana Studies Dept. as a Senior Lecturer. He is also a community leader and activist in Boston and has led several educational trips to Cuba and Nigeria.
Clemencia Lee is the Chairperson of the Development Committee at Tent City Apartments and President of Cultural Cafe which provides poetry, art and political venues for the City of Boston Residents. She has taught in Boston Public Schools for over 11 years.
L'Mercie Frazier is a renowned Artist-in-Residence at AAMARP/Northeastern University and is an expert at integrating the science, technology, engineering, art and math to create meaningful curriculum and projects for young people of color.