About the Rites of Passage Mentoring Program


The Durham Business and Professional Chain’s Rites of Passage has celebrated the successful passage of young black men into the ranks of adulthood for the past twenty nine years. Its proven track record of helping African American young men learn to take responsibility, to develop positive life skills and to lead more successful lives are a testament to its role as a community institution and a valuable cultural resource in Durham NC and in the Triangle region.


The Rites of Passage would be unique if just for its continuous length of service to the community. But its greatest asset has been its dedicated team of volunteer mentors and coordinators – many of whom have been with the program from its start in 1989. The Rites of Passage is unique in other ways. Its curriculum parallels the school year's 9-month term, involves academic instruction, life skills training, African and African American history, entrepreneurship, health, conflict resolution and much more. Regularly scheduled meetings, outings, camping trips and an annual out-of-town trip to a culturally relevant destination are part of the planned activities. Parental participation is a required component. When you combine these elements with a proven system of administration, the results speak for themselves. Over 500 young men and their families have been mentored and have benefited from its rigorous requirements.


The annual graduation ceremony held each June recognizes the graduates’ achievements, uplifts them in their role as adults and positions them for continued success in all their future endeavors. The ceremony is grounded in the African tradition of praying, pouring a libation, conferring African names and the community’s affirming the manhood of each graduate. In recognition of the African Diaspora, the audience sings the Black National Anthem and lights red, black and green candles highlighting the seven principles. Speeches by clergy, program leaders, former graduates and community members urge the graduates to create better outcomes for themselves and then pass it on so others can cross over the cultural obstacles faced by Black people in our society. A delicious community feast follows the graduation.


For more information, contact Arnold Dennis at 919-683-1047 or email to durhambusinessprofessionalchain@frontier.com

Contact Us About Rites of Passage

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Your Donations Ensure Continuation of Our Services

Volunteers Work Year-round     on Program Development


Providing Services to Initiates and Families

  • Classroom instruction in African and African American history 

  • Life skills training

  • Conflict resolution training

  • Entrepreneurial projects

  • Fields trips and bonding experiences

  • Annual camping trip

  • Group activities

  • Parents meetings

  • Out-of-town trips to culturally-relevant destinations

  • Annual Graduation Ceremony


How Your Donations Help

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