Cleveland, OH( -- The National Rites of Passage Institute (NROPI) today announced that its 2013 Youth and Community Building Conference will be held Friday, July 19, 2013 through Sunday, July 21, 2013 at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture in Baltimore, Maryland. The gathering, which is themed "Exploring Our Passage to Purpose", will bring together 200-300 youth participants, adult youth advocates, and the foremost experts and scholars on rites of passage in North America. This gathering will showcase the learning of over 30 years of employing rites of passage in different settings, as well as, celebrate the accomplishments, benefits, and results of Rites of Passage (ROP) as a strategy for youth and community development in the United States and Canada.

The unique weekend experience will allow the intergenerational participation of youth, practitioners, parents and scholars to engage with one another on a variety of issues facing youth and communities and how they have employed the strategy of rites of passage and culturally specific programming to make a difference. By sharing stories, experiences, and best-practices they will learn new ways to support youth and be inspired to return home with a new sense of purpose to implement the Rites of Passage process as they work to make their community and programs better.

One of the major goals of NROPI is to have culturally-specific rites of passage to be a part of all national and international conversations on child and youth development and village building. Researchers have noted that many problems endemic to adolescence, like violence, drug experimentation and gang culture, may be a response to the lack of adult recognition and support and the strategies employed by a rite of passage process where there is a celebration of life's transition from adolescence to adulthood. Paul Hill, Jr., Founder and President of NROPI, defines rites of passage as a process, not a program and often communicates that it is "a cultural antihistamine that prevents children and young people from having an allergic reaction to a socially toxic environment."

This enlightening gathering of practitioners, scholars, youth, and parents, will shine a light on the rites of passage process and showcase a variety of culturally responsive practices in the areas of corrections, parenting, faith-based and education; and the impact of such programming on youth, families and communities throughout the United States and Canada. Specific sessions will focus on restorative justice, manhood/sisterhood development, emancipatory education, cooperative economics and liberation theology.

The 3 days of fun and educational activities will allow participants to enjoy Cultural Learning Experiences, Tours, and an Exhibit Hall with exhibitors from the U.S. and Canada. The agenda is aligned thematically with the 3 phases of rites of passage to create an informative experience for participants:

* Day 1 Separation & Bonding -features the Opening Ceremony, a documentary on "United States of Africa Hip Hop and Beyond, A Youth Keynote Speaker, Digital Storytelling Showcase and a Networking Reception.

* Day 2 Transition -consists of Breakfast Roundtable Discussions, Content Specific Breakout Sessions, a Luncheon Speak Plenary Session and an Old School/New School Celebration.

* Day 3 Re-Integration -highlights the Keynote Speaker, Scholars' Presentation of Papers, Report Outs from Dialogues and the Closing Ceremony.

Sponsors and partners of the conference to date include The Kellogg Foundation, Baltimore Youth Resiliency Institute, Urban Leadership Institute, MOMIE's LTC, Woodgreen Community Services, and others.

Daily e-blasts and social media updates will keep conference participants engaged and informed. To register for the conference, see the full schedule and learn more about sponsorship opportunities, please visit Follow us on Twitter at and "Like" us on Facebook at

About National Rites of Passage Institute
Based in Cleveland, Ohio, NROPI focuses on youth and community development and regeneration, through programmatic integration of culturally specific values based experiential processes. Established in 1993, NROPI has trained over 1,000 individuals globally, who have impacted over 10,000 youth from 20 cities, the District of Columbia, and Canada. In 2010 NROPI held its first national conference on Rites Of Passage as a strategy for child, youth, and community development in Lyndhurst, Ohio at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Campus.

About Paul Hill, Jr.
He is a noted author, social worker, researcher and practitioner of ROP. For over 30 years, he has served as head of a multi-service community organization, serving youth, adults, and elders with acclaimed programming in Cleveland, Ohio. A foremost expert on ROP as a strategy for youth and community development, his work has been noted in multiple books, articles, dissertations, and documentaries. Interest in ROP for youth development and community building began in the late 70's. As a W. K. Kellogg leadership fellow (1989-1991), Hill conducted extensive research, traveling over 200,000 miles world-wide, including, but not limited to Africa, Central and South America, and Australia, researching how children in indigenous cultures are socialized from childhood into adulthood. Field research resulted in his first book, "Coming of Age" (1992). He recently wrote "Rites of Passage: Birth, Initiation, Marriage, Death," a chapter in African Presence in Black America by Jacob Go rdon.

Besides his phenomenal community service, Hill has been a devoted husband to Marquita McAllister Hill for 44 years; is a proud father of 7 children; grandfather to 6; and valued mentor to countless youth, students, community leaders, and others throughout his career.

To learn more about the National Rites of Passage and Mr. Hill, visit

Jermel D. Carr
(216) 906-0894