Rites of Passage Institute
The Rites of Passage Institute offers life-changing wellbeing and leadership development programs to suit all ages, organisations and communities.
Earth Guardians trains diverse youth to be effective leaders in the environmental, climate and social justice movements across the globe – using art, music, storytelling, on the ground projects, civic engagement and legal action to advance solutions to the critical issues we face as a global community. How do we do this? Through the creation and training of Earth Guardian Crews. These crews, ranging from ten to several hundred young people per crew represent the heart and soul of the organization. They are the young activists, artists, and musicians that are on the front lines driving action and fueling the cultural shift toward a regenerative future.
Earth Guardians began as an accredited high school in Maui, Hawaii in 1992, focusing on environmental awareness and action in its core curriculum. Students studied the history of social movements and took action to restore sandalwood forests, shut down the toxic practice of burning sugar cane and working on other issues that directly impacted the islands. The school became recognized throughout the Hawaiian Islands and beyond, with the Dalai Lama presenting the Children’s Torch of Hope to twenty-five Earth Guardian students in 1995. The Students carried and presented the torch at high-profile events in 29 states and delivered it to the general assembly in the United Nations.
Seeing the need to empower and give voice to a wider audience prompted Earth Guardians to relocate to Colorado in 1997 and engage more young people in programs to empower and amplify their voice. Earth Guardians began teaching youth about the power of political action and activism, and they worked to stop the spraying of pesticides in public parks, helped establish an environmental fee on plastic bags, advocate for municipalizing Boulder’s energy grid and helped to achieve several moratoriums and a ban on fracking. Earth Guardians received a great deal of press and attention for local actions, allowing the organization to expand into national and international work.
Now with thousands of engaged youth on six continents, Earth Guardians has given youth a voice and direction worldwide to become effective leaders and make measurable change in their communities. Earth Guardians continues to develop the resources to build a stronger collaborative network to cultivate and support this large wave of youth engagement.
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