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A Letter to Our Partners, YPW Rite of Passage Research Collaboration

Dear Partners,

It is an exciting moment for rites of passage for young people. We hope that you will participate! This dense email contains important information on a Rite of Passage Research Collaboration and how you and the young people you’ve served can contribute to broad societal understanding of the value of rites of passage. 

For the last year, Youth Passageways has been collaborating with researchers at the University of San Francisco and Dominican University to conduct research to build an evidence base on rites of passage for adolescents and young adults. The intention of this partnership is twofold:

  1. To assess evidence about the impacts of rites of passage on long term health and wellbeing 
  2. To support rites of passage during adolescence as a vehicle for health equity, social justice, and cultural and ecological change.

More than a study on a single rite of passage effort, organization, or approach, this collaboration is designed to look at youth rites of passage in a wide variety of contexts and for a range of communities. This has the potential to provide meaningful documentation of the impacts of rites of passage on health and well-being for young people, synthesize reams of existing research conducted at the more local level to make it accessible throughout the network, and provide information on what is and isn’t working for our partners and beyond. 

Your voice is needed–as are the voices of the young people you’ve served!

We are asking for your participation in two ways:

Survey of participants

Please share this survey with the young people you’ve served (and others you know that could share it with the young people that they have served). Spread it far and wide! There is a small stipend (equivalent to $20) for survey respondents. To participate, participants must be over 18 years old and have participated in a rite of passage at least 1 year ago. 

When you share the survey or engage in followup, please include this cover email from the researchers to ensure respondents understand their rights as research participants. This is language that has been approved by the University of San Francisco Institutional Review Board (IRB). IRB ensures that ethical standards are upheld in all research involving human subjects.  It is fine to write your own cover letter and simply include the cover email as an attachment. 

This  survey is designed to collect and compare information on rites of passage and the impacts on long term health and well-being to other research being conducted in public health. Participants can make use of text responses, and/or sign up to be interviewed at the end of the survey if they feel that the multiple choice questions don’t adequately capture, or they would like to provide deeper insights, their experience.

Gathering Data from Practitioners

We have begun to gather rites of passage data and information in our ROP Evidence Repository.  The intention of this repository is to facilitate the synthesis of (both published and unpublished) data and information on rites of passage, and to share this emerging body of evidence with our partners.  To contribute data and information on your rites of passage work to the repository, please complete the  Partner Data Collection Instrument and attach documents that you would like  included (e.g. program evaluations, exit surveys or interviews, annual reports). And if you are willing to be interviewed for this project, please reach out to kamcdermott@usfca.edu to learn more and schedule a time. 

Survey and partner data collection will end on October 31st.  We will be following up at regular intervals and will also provide ongoing support.  We are also here to work closely with you to support your efforts to participate.  Some ways that we might support your efforts include: meeting with you 1:1 to discuss strategy, providing examples from other partners on how they’ve reached out to their communities, or drafting language for you to use in communication. We realize this is a lot to ask of you and we plan on being there to support you along the way.  Building this collective knowledge is an important step forward for rites of passage.

Your work is an integral part of preserving the fabric of values holding up the Youth Passageways network in our attempt to support the young folks of this world, building initiatory practices that provide avenues for young people to step into roles of stewardship within their communities and create long-lasting impacts on individuals and their communities. 

We look forward to helping increasingly broader circles appreciate the importance of rites of passage for young people, their communities, and well-being of all sorts.  We will be following up in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to any of the members of our team listed below for assistance and/or more information. 

In community,

Kelly McDermott, Researcher, University of San Francisco

Michaela George, Researcher, Dominican University

Sobey Wing, Cross-Cultural Protocols Chair, Youth Passageways

Darcy Ottey, Co-Director, Youth Passageways

Youth Passageways Blog

Welcome to the Blog. Here you will find current and archived versions of our ENewsletters, Updates, and posts from partners, and guests.

Interested in contributing to our blog? Contact us at: dane@youthpassageways.org

Youth Passageways is thrilled to provide a platform in which a wide breadth of perspectives can commingle and paint as comprehensive a picture of our partner base as possible. As such, the views and opinions expressed in individual letters, posts, or media content of any kind do not necessarily reflect or represent the Youth Passageways network as an organization, or collective.

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