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Rites of Passage
El Joven Noble(Noble Youth)- cultural sensitive program is a ten-session comprehensive character development program that supports and guides youth through their “rites of passage” process while focusing on violence prevention and intervention. Homies Unidos has implemented this curriculum to serve primary newly arrival immigrant youth who who are going through the culture clash in their community, schools and family. The Joven Noble have will develop ways in which to deal with anger derived from cultural assimilation, trauma from violence they witnessed in their country, new siblings and step parents they are in conflict with and bullying they experience as immigrant youth. They will learn positive living skills, understanding their families, introductions to their rights and knowing themselves which will develop character.
Character Development Program The Joven Noble Rites of Passage, Character Development Program, is an evidenced based youth development, support, and leadership enhancement effort developed by Jerry Tello in 1996 that provides a process and a vehicle for the continued “rites of passage” development of youth ages 10-24. The trauma informed, healing centered program incorporates an approach and curriculum that is based on the philosophy that youth need other men their family, and community to care for, support, heal, guide, and successfully prepare them for true manhood. Under the auspicious of the National Compadres Network the Joven Noble curriculum focuses on the CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT of young men while targeting the reduction and prevention of unwanted or unplanned pregnancies, substance abuse, community violence, and school failure while increasing the ability of young men to act in a responsible and respectful way in reference to their relationships and community.
Compadres Network/ Mentorship With the intent of reclaiming this important support system, an essential aspect of this or any effective youth development program is having a circle of balanced, responsible Chicano/Latino men who see youth leadership and development as a major focus of their role as men. This “rites of passage” process includes the recruitment, training, and establishment of a Chicano/Latino Compadres Network (Extended Kinship) to serve as guides, leaders, mentors who support in a fashion similar to that of tios (uncles) in the traditional Chicano/Latino family. This is an essential phase in transitioning the young men to provide support network upon completion of the program.
Organizations and institutions have delivered these programs at mainstream schools (junior and senior high schools), alternative and community schools, recreation centers, juvenile detention facilities, and other social service delivery sites throughout California and the United States to include:
California sites: Oakland, Los Angeles, Stockton, Merced, Fresno, Santa Cruz, San Jose, Salinas, Gilroy, Hollister, Watsonville, Visalia, Santa Ana, San Diego, Coachella, San Francisco. National sites: Texas; Maryland; Chicago, Nebraska; Washington, D.C., Kansas; Washington; Pennsylvania; Arizona:
The following are the protective factors that this program is intended to enhance:
Community Domain – community rewards for pro-social involvement
Family Domain – family opportunities and rewards for pro-social involvement
School Domain – school opportunities and rewards for pro-social involvement
Peer & Individual Domain – Character development, social skills and the belief in the moral order
Joven Noble is divided into four core teachings of development to include: Conocimiento (Acknowledgement), Entendimiento (Understanding), Integración (Integration), and Movimiento (Movement) . These four core teachings directly target four parallel risk areas that contribute to self destructive behavior of Chicano/Latino (disenfranchised ) youth. It is designed to present teachings related to the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of each as a basis for direction. Each stage uses a combination of activities and teaching experiences relating to a young person’s self, family, and community while focusing on four main core teachings.
- Conocimiento: Acknowledgement and Positive Cultural Identity Development
Chicano/Latino youth live in a world where they have to balance two cultures and many times come from families who have experienced generations of racism, discrimination and oppression (social/cultural detachment). Through these oppressive processes many youth have internalized a negative (false) self concept of who they are culturally and essentially have learned to “detach” (attachment disorder) from the true sense of who they are in connection to themselves, their families, their relationships and their behaviors. Joven Noble focuses on a relationship based process Acknowledging them from an indigenous, cultural perspective while reinforcing the true essence of who they are and reconnecting them to their true potential as Jovenes Nobles.
- Entendimiento: Understanding of Their Sacred (True) Purpose in Life
In the indigenous beliefs of Latino culture every child is a blessing and has a “Sacred Purpose”. On the other hand through living in an oppressive society many disenfranchised (Chicano/Latino) youth have come to believe they are high risk, delinquent prone and burdens to their families and society. Through generations experiencing trauma and rejection many youth have developed survival mechanisms (attention deficit behavior) as it becomes too painful to be present in their reality. Many times coping mechanisms become internalized oppressive ways of thinking and behaving (aggressive/reactive behavior) that result in self destructive, self-sabotaging behaviors. On the other hand, a basic premise of true healing, growth and development is the ability of the individual to have a vision of their true Sacred Purpose, a vision that is missing for many of these youth. If a person only has a negative view of himself, his history and his culture then he has no avenue for growth and development. They must understand the history that has led to the creation of their present situation and in this process (narrative reprocessing; hearing their social/historical story) and with the proper guidance (elders mentorship) he/she will be able to separate pain and dysfunction from the true essence and teachings that can lead him/her to manifest her/his “Sacred Purpose”.
- Integracion: Integrating Bilingual/Bicultural Values
Due to the multitude of economic, social and family stressors many youth live their life based on survival; getting by, getting over and not getting caught. The clash between the values of one’s culturally based families and that of western oriented society often leaves youth in the middle, feeling stuck, not learning, not growing (depression) and not motivated to do anything else. On the other hand, positive values, a love for life and a circle of support (extended kinship network, circulo de hombres) is the basis for learning, healing, growing and leading others. As times change, people must learn “new ways” (based on ancient teachings), be able to analyze and process the changing world’s demands without losing a sense of one’s true culture and ethnic connection. Living with a sense of Spirit (spirituality) and ganas (fortitude) allows one to better deal with difficult and sometimes overwhelming pressures with a sense of hope and greater vision.
- Movemiento: Safety, Security and Interconnected Trust
Fear is one of the greatest obstacles many youth face today. Living in dangerous neighborhoods, where gangs, drug use and violence is prevalent thus creating ongoing insecurity, anxiety (anxiety disorders, post traumatic stress) that many times spills into their relationships as well. Young people need ongoing adult mentorship and support to assist them to navigate their “rites of passage” into manhood/womanhood and to learn positive living skills that can help them in their day-to-day lives. At the same time, they need ongoing resources (circulo de apoyo, circle of support: adult guides) where they can feel safe and where they can learn to develop pro-social, problem solving skills where they can release burdensome issues in their lives.
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