Project Washington D.C. - 2015

Project Washington D.C. was envisioned in 2014 by the staff, elders and youth participants of the Desert Region Africentric Rites of Passage (ROP) program.  Youth were challenged to think beyond the marginalized, underserved neighborhoods they lived in and the beautiful mountains that surround them to explore their rich African-American history and culture.  The 2014 participants planned, designed and raised the more than $20,000 neededto make the extraordinary, life changing journey to Washington D.C. upon graduating from the program in June 2014.  Our youth visited the White House, MLK Monument, African American Civil War Memorial, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, the Capitol Building, Lincoln Memorial, and the Historically Black University “Howard University” among other historical sites.

The Africentric Rites of Passage Administrators, staff, parents and community elders seek to ensure the same extraordinary experience for the twenty-two 2015 youth participants.  ROP is rich in African and African-American history, culture and tradition.  This evidence-based practice concludes that when African-American boys build self-esteem through gaining knowledge of their history and culture they begin to develop self-worth, a greater appreciation for the considerable contributions made by their ancestors, and a stronger belief in their strengths, talents and abilities, which translate into better school performance, more respectful behaviors and greater community assets.              

One objective of the Washington D.C. excursion is to expose African-American boys to a heavily populated African-American environment, rich in African-American history and culture, thus revealing role models that our boys can identify with and that they see so few of as residents of the desert region.  In order that our boys make the cultural connection between themselves, their history and their futures, we believe that it is important for them to experience the rich culture and history that they have studied for nine months.  In addition to visiting the African-American historical sites of Washington D.C., our boys will visit one of the Historically Black Universities (HBU), Howard University, where they will receive a custom tour and a presentation about the outstanding opportunities the University has to offer.  The visit to Howard University is intended to expose our African-American boys to the many options and possibilities presented by the pursuance of post-secondary education.   By interacting with African-American college students and touring the university campus our boys are better able to actualize themselves as college students.  A possibility many of our boys may not have seriously considered.

Our youth will be the primary travel agents for this journey as they will plan every detail of the trip including maneuvering through the D.C. Metro system, establishing the dates and times of tours, developing a budget for food, activities, gas, and miscellaneous expenses and planning and participating in the many fundraising activities to raise the funds needed to cover the cost of the trip.  In addition, youth will receive several weekly modules of preparation, such as travel/airport etiquette, conducting mock transit rides (L.A. Metro System) and group travel and safety guidelines.  Youth will also receive clinical consultation to help reduce anxiety in youth who may be apprehensive about flying.

Our youth will receive the greatest benefit from this life changing experience, as the expectation is to return twenty-two  self-assured, respectful, and highly motivated African-American boys to the Coachella Valley.  The five parents who will travel with the group will have the extraordinary opportunity to share the experience of empowerment, discovery and education with their sons, consequently demonstrating the true essence of  “Building Resilience in African-American Families”, which is the ultimate goal of the program.

The group is scheduled to depart on June 21, 2015 and return on June 28, 2015, spending seven days discovering the wonderful small section of the world that they have studied and labored for the opportunity to explore.  Unfortunately, no part of the funding the organization receives for program operation can be used in support of this project, consequently, all funding for the project is derived through fundraising efforts. The estimated cost per participant is $1,500.00 and each participant is responsible for fundraising either by participating in the many organizational fundraising activities or by conducting independent fundraisers.  Unfortunately, not every youth participant has the parental/family support they deserve in order that they achieve their $1,500 goal therefore, we are asking for the help and support of the community.

Our boys are valuable, deserving and a necessary part of our future, therefore worthy of our investment.  When we invest in our youth, we are investing in our future.


  • Steve Fleischman 
    • $50 
    • 42 mos
  • lillie Culberson  
    • $20 
    • 60 mos
  • lillie Culberson  
    • $20 
    • 61 mos
  • Melisha Nolen 
    • $20 
    • 61 mos
  • Capital R. 
    • $20 
    • 62 mos
See all


Sandra Austin 
Palm Desert, CA
  • #1 fundraising platform

    People have raised more money on GoFundMe than anywhere else. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case that something isn’t right, we will refund your donation. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more