Pride ROC was founded in direct response to the violence, poverty, and despair turning some of the city’s communities into war zones. While violence and poverty may seem common in some of Chicago’s neighborhoods, the story that is seldom told is how those stuck in the middle of this vicious cycle are often looking for peace, but are left without a pathway to safety.
Pride ROC Founder Ra Frye developed Gang Rescue and Refinement Passages (GRR), which initially took place in Denver, Colorado. In 2016, Frye brought GRR to Englewood—and as of 2018, more than 35 young men have joined the movement and raised their hand to the transformative, passage experience that Pride ROC offers them.
Pride ROC’s passage process is built upon three stages, developed by Board Member, Mary Jo Barrett. The stages are:
1) Creating a Context for Change
2) Challenging Old Patterns and Expanding New Realities
3) Consolidating Positive Adaptive Behaviors
One of the main elements of the passage approach is “community extraction” which consists of removing participants from their physical environment to eliminate all potential distractions. Once out of the city, participants (or Passengers, the term Pride ROC uses to identify the young men in their program) take part in an eight-day experience that is split into two parts: a three-day orientation and then five days of passage. During this time, Passengers participate in Egyptian yoga, meditation, conversations focused on restorative justice, group and individualized trauma therapy, musical enrichment, reflection, and wholesome, nutrient-rich meals—and the experience does not end there.
Upon their return home, Passengers are assigned a case manager and have access to services like continued trauma therapy and weekly meetings, where they can always count on a meal. Job enrichment programs are offered to Passengers that qualify.