Harambee – “let’s pull together” (Tiswahili) exemplifies the love and unity, respect and tranquility, and freedom and structure that CDF Freedom Schools stands upon. Not only is Harambee the cheerful way that which the scholars start their day, it’s elements also depict the healthy start, head start, fair start, safe start, and moral start that Freedom School promotes. Being an intern at the Detroit Service Learning Academy site has meant just that for me; pulling together with the scholars whose lives I am impacting and leaving a lasting footprint on our world. Each aspect of Harambee signifies an important part of my journey as a servant leader intern.
- The Motivational Song
Just as the motivational song instills self-acceptance, courage, and confidence in the scholars, this program has done the same for me. Although the scholars may fail to realize the lasting impact that they have on the hearts of their interns, their ambition, determination, and defiance against societal norms empower me to be whomever I want to be. They remind me daily that the next generation is watching my every move and that their success is dependent upon mine.
2. Cheers & Chants
Uplifting and unifying, cheers and chants promote a safe family-like environment where students can express themselves without the boundaries of a traditional school. The lyrics and these cheers and chants translate directly into my day-to-day life at Freedom Schools, where my scholars have become my family.
3. Read Aloud
Being read to by people in the community who are pursuing their dreams inspires scholars to be whoever they are; whether that may be a garbage man or the president of a Fortune 500 company – be authentically you! As the read aloud guest inspires them, they inspire me to be my own me, the version of me that they love and adore.
4. Moment of Silence
The moment of silence is a time of regrouping and preparing for the day that is to come. Despite all of the chaos and rowdyness, Freedom Schools is like an entire “moment of silence”, in that, it allows me to find peace in a world where peaceful days are outnumbered.
When I look at my scholars everyday I see hope and aspiration, love and joy, and desire and determination. I look past the pain and despair that comes along with being a product of the society that surrounds them and focus on my purpose – to build them a bigger boat. A boat that is equipped with knowledge, joy, confidence, and determination. That will allow them to eliminate the boundaries that discourage them from conquering the world.