The founding story, Stone Soup, details the journey of a tired traveler who asked for any food that a villager could spare. The villager denies the traveler food, stating that they have nothing left to give because they cannot provide for themselves, and turns the traveler away. Time and time again, each villager turns him away, leaving him with nothing.

In this moment, despite his previous failings, the traveler chooses not to give up and places a stone into a pot of water and begins to make stone soup. Fascinated, villagers start to gather and add to the soup. Each villager offers something different: carrots, onions, mushrooms, etc. And by the end the villagers and the traveler together cooked enough soup to feed the entire village.

City Year uses this founding story to detail the coming together of resources from the community to provide to the common good. In interpreting this founding story to my experience this year, I took a more personal approach.

When making the soup, each villager had something different to offer. Even the tired traveler, who seemed to have nothing, brought the villagers together to create something where there was nothing before. When reading this it reminded me of the team that I got to serve on the past school year.

The women of our team at Celerity Lanier School, together with our Impact Manager, we’re able to create soup from a stone this past year. This marked City Year’s first partnership with Lanier, making us the premier team. No one knew what City Year did or how to work with us, so we had to develop our partnership from scratch. And each member of our team was able to contribute something different to our “soup”.

My team is filled with a wide diversity of talents and strengths, ranging from artistic abilities, patience, leadership, teamwork, support, and perseverance. Without these contribution from each and every one of them our “soup” would have turned out very differently, and wouldn’t be nearly as strong as it has become. I consider myself extremely lucky to have served alongside these people, and am grateful to witness the contributions they've made and will continue to make throughout their lives.  

Susan Nourse served at Celerity Lanier School during the 2016-2017 school year. She will return to serve a second year with City Year Baton Rouge as a Team Leader.

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