Project Washington D.C. - 2021

Exposure and discovery are extremely therapeutic to expanding young minds.

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 dream 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 needed to make the extraordinary, life-changing journey to Washington D.C. upon graduating from the ROP 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 2015 ROP returned in 2015.

We can do it again, adding the renowned African American Museum to our 2021 itinerary!

The Africentric Rites of Passage Administrators, staff, parents, and community elders seek to ensure the same extraordinary experience for the twenty-eight 2021 youth participants.  ROP is rich in African and African-American history, culture, and tradition.  This evidence-based practice concludes that when African-American youth 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 youth to a heavily populated African-American environment, rich in African-American history and culture, thus revealing role models that our youth can identify with and that they see so few of as residents of the desert region.  In order that our youth 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 youth will visit one of the Historically Black Universities (HBU), Howard University, where they will receive a 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 youth 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 youth are better able to actualize themselves as college students.  A possibility many of our youth 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.

We need your help!

Our youth will receive the greatest benefit from this life-changing experience, as the expectation is to return thirty-two self-assured, respectful, and highly motivated African-American youth to the Coachella Valley.  We are well on our way but need some additional help to ensure we make the journey.  We are asking the community, donors,  elders, moms, dads, uncles, aunts, companies, and any other individual who seeks to help build resilience in African American families to donate to this extremely worthy cause.  

The group is scheduled to depart on June 30, 2021, and return on July 7. 2021 spending seven awesome days discovering the wonderful small section of the world that they have studied and labored for the opportunity to explore.  

Our youth 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 
    • 73 mos
  • lillie Culberson
    • $20 
    • 91 mos
  • lillie Culberson
    • $20 
    • 92 mos
  • Melisha Nolen
    • $20 
    • 92 mos
  • Capital R.
    • $20 
    • 93 mos
See all


Sandra Austin
Palm Desert, CA

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