Support Conscious Youth Global Network

CYGN is raising $24,800 to ensure the Ten Step Rites of Passage (TSROP)  program at Tom Bradly School continues during the upcoming academic year. GO Campaign will match funds raised up to $12,400! This means that every dollar donated (up to $12,400) will do twice as much!

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Conscious Youth Global Network (CYGN) is a youth based conscious arts initiative that has been serving and working with youth in South Los Angeles since 2013. In 2016, CYGN partnered with Avalon-Carver Community Center and implemented a Ten Step Rites of Passage (TSROP) after school program for 4th and 5th grade students at LAUSD campuses located in underserved communities in South Los Angeles. The program consists of activities to support the emotional, social, historical, spiritual, cultural, physical, personal, political, economic and mental wellbeing of youth.

ROP Step Team

The ROP Step Team has become an essential element of CYGN’s programming over the last two program years. It focuses mainly on the social, physical, historical and cultural rites.

Due to the incredible response and feedback this component garnered at Tom Bradley School during the 2017/18 school year from school administrators, teachers, staff, volunteers, parents and students, the ROP Step Team was welcomed back, by popular demand, to Bradley School as an effective programming tool for student development.

What is ‘Stepping’?

Introduced to the U.S. by Black Greek letter organizations on the campuses of historically black colleges and universities since 1906, “Stepping” in its original form is native to Africa. Most notably, Stepping was practiced by the Zulu nation of South Africa among others on the African continent.

Stepping was added to the program serve as a vehicle to complement and reinforce the activities presented within the TSROP curriculum while providing a positive and safe platform for students to practice applying the workshop lessons. Step Team activities and drills requires students to practice discipline and to develop/strengthen their sense of awareness; first and foremost as individuals, then as individuals who are a part of a team working towards accomplishing a common goal.

Students develop or enhance their communication, listening, social and leadership skills as a result of the effort that is necessary to physically perform and move as one unit, with precision and near perfect timing, while executing complex sound patterns using only the feet and hands. The impact this activity has had on the youth’s confidence and self-esteem has been phenomenal! It has inspired program participants to want the real college/university fraternity “Stepping” experience, while at the same time understanding what they must strive for academically and the focus it will require for this to become a reality.

Mindfulness Development and Meditation Practice

This aspect of the program is geared towards the mental, personal, emotional and spiritual rites. It has become a much needed healing tool that is used to cushion the youth’s expression of trauma; trauma which comes out disguised as anger, sadness or violence towards their peers, instructors and sometimes their parents. Dedicating more program time to this practice has produced phenomenal qualitative results that are critical to youth development. More specifically, this component of our programming encourages self-reflection/awareness and provides a safe space for students to emotionally de-escalate after experiencing stressful situations at school, home or in their respective communities that may hinder their ability to focus on learning.

Unfortunately, the majority of 4th and 5th grade students at Tom Bradley come from single parent homes, many of which are living at or below the poverty line. This reality comes with its own impact that youth can find difficult to navigate or process. The results of this difficulty can be seen in their daily behaviors. With the help of Mindfulness and Meditation Practice:

  • Students learn deep breathing techniques, breath control, posture, breath/body movements and some chanting; all of which are useful tools that assists in raising or lowering energy levels.
  • Many participants have reported feeling calmer after devoting just five minutes of their day to practice mindfulness.
  • The results were a 60% decrease in school disciplinary action for unsafe behavior for our participants.

The Principal of Tom Bradley, Mrs. Monique Bell, recently shared with staff that she now encourages all students, regardless of grade level, to find a quiet space to sit/kneel and practice breathing techniques whenever they become upset, angry, emotional or anxious about anything that may contribute to students acting out these feelings verses processing them. All school instructors were put on notice as well. This was a huge WIN for CYGN!

It has been feedback of this nature from the entire school community, on many occasions, that solidifies and confirms the importance of implementing this practice as a tangible and practical approach in our youth attaining stronger self-control and decision making capabilities. Again, this was the first time any of our participants has been exposed to “meditation” and how it can be a powerful instrument in their development.

We are a breath of fresh air for entire school communities in South Los Angeles, and with your support we can continue to do this much needed work for our youth.