Written by Ashley Dunbar, AmeriCorps member proudly serving on the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation team at Winbourne Elementary School.

Ubuntu, a term borrowed from the Zulu tribe of South Africa, means “I am a person through other people; my humanity is tied to yours.” As one of City Year’s values, Ubuntu allows us to share a mutual purpose as we give a year of service to our communities. It stresses that there is no “us” and "them”…there is only “us” and we are all connected to each other through invisible webs of interdependence.

At its most basic, Ubuntu can be translated as “human kindness,” but big picture, it is much more than just that. It’s embodiment, “I am; because of you,” conveys the ideas of connection, community, and mutual caring for all of humanity. 

Ubuntu suggests that we deepen our own humanity when we recognize and honor the humanity of others. As Corps Members, we strive daily to engrave in our students to always treat others with deep respect and encourage empowerment of others. Through doing so, we can build a stronger community and world for all.

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