WoodGreen Community Services’ Rites of Passage process (ROP) was established in 2007 by sipho kwaku, (Director of Employment Services), with the assistance of Paul Osbourne, (Current ROP Manager). As a founding member of the United Way of Toronto Agency, WoodGreen employs 650 staff and 1,000 volunteers, across 36 locations, to provide support for 37,000 individuals in Toronto each year.
The Rites journey recognizes the milestones of human development, from cradle to the grave. Faced with emotional, physiological, mental and spiritual demands, the transition from adolescence to responsible adulthood is one of the most tumultuous experiences we – as humans – will undergo.
Given the specific challenges faced by youth of African descent in Toronto, WoodGreen’s ROP process offers resources, guidance and support, as they move from one life stage to the next.
Our approach provides an African-oriented cultural landing pad, encouraging critical reflexive thinking that fosters an examined life, with meaning and purpose. By acknowledging the fluidity of culture, we also draw inspiration from the Akan-informed and other African-based cultural forms, as alternative frameworks to nurture a greater sense of resilience, self-awareness and self-determination.
What values, history, traditions and cultural precepts do I recognize, respect, and continue?
What were/are the forces, events, people which have come together to frame who I am?
To what extent do I understand, internalize, employ, and reflect the cultural authenticity of my origins?