Written by Hannah Evans, AmeriCorps Member on the Entergy Louisiana Team at Broadmoor Middle School
Ubuntu, a Zulu proverb, means “I am a person through other people. My humanity is tied to yours.” With these last final weeks of my City Year inevitably closing in, I can’t help but already feel nostalgic about what this year has brought me. For one, I feel as strong as ever in my ability to build relationships with people, my ability to empower kids, and my ability to serve within a community. I recall hearing the Ubuntu founding story during last summer’s training, and finding the concept uniquely charming. I knew with this year would come new relationships, but I had no idea how my ability to connect to others would come to develop. Meeting a new person almost every single day of my City Year, my practice in communicating with so many new personalities could put any social anxiety to rest. Through Ubuntu, we understand the importance of not just successfully interacting with those around us, but also striving to form meaningful connections with them. These relationships are what our students depend on and will think of fondly some day when they no longer have a City Year.
I especially enjoy Ubuntu’s emphasis on respect, compassion and inclusivity. City Year Baton Rouge using inclusive practices when training AmeriCorps members is reflected within our student interactions every day of the week. Within both my professional and personal life, Ubuntu has forced perspective upon how I view others. With my students, it has helped me aim to understand and help instead of judge. From the smallest “Good morning!” to our most consistent one-on-one interventions with students, these are things rooted in strengthening our humanity. As a founding story of City Year, Ubuntu relays the main reason we serve! Extending an empathetic hand to a city, a community or even a single person, consequently affects our world.