It Takes a Village

by Willa Handy, AmeriCorps member at Trevitt Elementary

One of City Year's founding stories is from the Igbo proverb "It takes a whole village to raise a child." I find so much truth in that proverb. By growing up in a very small and close-knit town, most of us were indeed raised by the whole "village." Our family activities were often full of people who were not born family but had become family, and no matter whose momma told you to stop doing something, you stopped! Now that I'm serving with City Year, I see the importance of all of us, as corps members, staff, teachers, parents, and community members, being parts of the village it takes to lead our students to success.

Our Trevitt Team, as well as our entire 2016 – 2017 Corps, is more than just physically diverse. We are as diverse as the food brought to a potluck dinner, with most of us coming from different cities and towns across the country and holding different degrees from different universities. Our differences give us all very unique experiences and skills to share but that alone is not enough for us to be parts of the village needed to raise our children. We must also have the same goal in mind, and we do: to push our students to see, reach and apply their full potential.

Our service is like the aforementioned potluck dinner. Everyone is expected to bring something, but the chance of everyone bringing the exact same dish is slim to none. The spaghetti making task would likely be delegated to whomever has nearly perfected the art of spaghetti making, and we'd probably ask whoever knows their Granny's secret recipe to bring the peach cobbler. The dinner would be best with everyone bringing something different that they've practically mastered making and the same idea can be applied to our service. In a potluck dinner, the goal is to feed everyone a delicious and filling meal by bringing your own particular dish and sharing it. This year, each member of our corps brings something special to our table of service. We all have our own strengths and talents and if our service really was a potluck dinner, we'd be able to work together to serve our students a wonderfully flavored and filling meal. While what we alone can bring to the table may suffice, children benefit most from our collective efforts to help them. This year, we will do as the Igbo people see fit. We will be the whole village it takes to raise our children.  

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