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Strengthening Youth Leadership

Transforms Communities


Ubuntu brings together children, ages 8-12 years old at Lt. Clayre P. Sullivan School in Holyoke with high school mentors, who are members of First Generation. Ubuntu integrates arts, social justice, leadership development, and community building. The children also receive academic support.

Meeting four days a week, Ubuntu always begins with a Community Circle and then transitions into a variety of activities. Participants get writing practice through journaling exercises, and experience workshops in theater, music, dance, martial arts, drumming, storytelling, and poetry with teaching artists, college students and First Generation youth.

Ubuntu children, First Generation members and their families all come together for Family and Community Celebrations which take place three to four times a year. Family and Community Celebrations invite families and the community-at-large to experience the dance, theater, writing and visual art that Ubuntu participants have created, and to enjoy food and music together. Everyone participates in a Community Circle, so that they may experience what their children are doing in Ubuntu

The caring relationships that First Generation mentors build with our Ubuntu children is the foundation of Ubuntu, it lays the building blocks for a successful mentoring network. First Generation members receive ongoing trainings in empathic listening and communication, conflict de-escalation, gender equity, learn to build an understanding of the socialization of boys and hyper-masculinity, and leadership styles and group facilitation.

WHAT IS UBUNTU? Ubuntu is a classical African philosophy. It is the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks about the fact that we cannot exist as a human being in isolation. Ubuntu is about our interconnectedness. Ubuntu says that you can't be fully human all by yourself, and when you have this quality - Ubuntu - you are known for your generosity.

“We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole world. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.”   - Desmond Tutu

“A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.”  - Desmond Tutu

Ubuntu Arts Community is a collaboration between The Performance Project, The Teen Resource Project of The Care Center (https://www.carecenterholyoke.org), and  Lt. Clayre P. Sullivan School in Holyoke.