Sankofa – An African word from the Akan tribe in Ghana that literally means “It is not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind.”
San – (return), ko (go), fa (look, seek, take).
Sankofa is represented by Adinkra symbols with either a stylized heart or by a bird with its head turned backward while its feet face forward carrying a precious egg in its mouth.
In 2006, my daughter Reya was in the 6th grade and I was looking for a way to help connect her to other girls in our church community as well as expose her to other women who had a heart to mentor and teach life lessons/skills to young girls. I found exactly that, plus so much more, when I was introduced to the Rites of Passage Program for Girls, Inc.
Reya completed the program, as did my 2nd daughter Kyra. As a result of being in that program, both of my daughters have a strong identity of who they are, willingly try new things, and they were highly prepared for independent life after high school. Their wealth of exposure far exceeded what I could have ever done on my own. One example of that is that Reya has launched her own clothing line. I attribute this to the Rites of Passage Program introducing her to sewing,
The program ended in January of 2019, and because of how beneficial it was for my daughters, our family, and the other involved families, I am compelled to continue the impact and to extend its benefits to boys, as well. We were part of that rites of passage for 12 consecutive years and I am so excited about continuing that legacy.
Each board member is already a committed community servant in their own right. Fortunately, personal values aligned with Sankofa's vision and mission, which makes us well positioned for a bright future.
Please see Our Programs for more information on the types of classes and experiences that we will offer, If you know youth who can benefit, please go to our Join Us page. If you are an adult who has a heart for future leaders and would like to share your expertise or facilitate classes, please go to the Help Us page.
Anita B. Roussel
Anita B. Roussel, Founder/CEO
Anita currently works as a Lab Intelligence Consultant, holds an MBA and has a passion for the empowerment of all through mentoring, as evidenced by her teaching life-experience mentoring classes at her church and beyond. Anita founded Sankofa Mentoring Matters as a response to the positive impact that a Rites of Passage Program for Girls had on her two daughters and wanted to continue that legacy as well as extend that to young males, as well.
Chanta Givens, Treasurer
Chanta is currently working as an accountant and testing to obtain CPA credentials. Chanta has taught classes at her church for young girls and serves in a mentoring role. Chanta’s guiding principle, when it comes to mentoring, is “It’s our ministry as Christians to build the kingdom. I use my life experiences and love for Jesus to reach out to all (with a specific tug towards youth)”.
Chejuana Martin, Secretary
As an educator of 24 years, she has served abroad in Spain, Japan and most recently as a Middle School Dean in Shenzhen, China. Educating in the states, Chejuana has worked in Dallas ISD, A. W. Brown and has recently accepted the role of Digital Learning Coach with Irving ISD. Her passion for education is evident when she is engaging students, even more so when she is supporting and training teachers.
Michelle is presently working on her doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and served as the founding Associate Principal at the Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy. During her career, she has focused on helping marginalized students develop their talents and skills to address real-world issues and considers Sankofa a space for a continuation of that worthy work.
Brian Z. Roussel
Brian has a degree in Finance, has been in banking for 20+ years, and is currently working as a Business Banker . He enjoys fishing, hunting and outdoor activities and loves to share his expertise and life experiences with others, especially youth. Brian has volunteered in numerous organizations to include SCORE, and coaching his son's little league teams. Sankofa will afford more such opportunities.