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“I am who I am because of who we all are.” Do you believe that? The team at Ubuntu Leaders in Lancaster (ULL) does.

The statement above is a definition of the ancient African word “Ubuntu” as described by ULL. Launched out of Millersville University’s Learning Institute, the mission of this new community-based program is centered on that word, the first in its title. The team at ULL believes that that term comes to life by interacting with and serving others for the benefit of one’s community.

They also believe that no one is more capable of facilitating local and global change than the youth. As a result of extensive research and preparation, ULL has developed a program specifically designed for individuals in seventh through 12th grade who attend school in Lancaster County. ULL aims to help these individuals enhance compassion skills, develop leadership abilities, advocate social justice and foster global citizenry.

On Sept. 26, the mission of Ubuntu Leaders in Lancaster will come to life. Youth interested in making a difference in their communities are invited to attend the first night of the program from 4 to 5:30 p.m at the Ware Center in downtown Lancaster. That first night will initiate a three-phase model that starts with compassion building, moves on to leadership skills development and concludes with social justice advocacy.

The team at ULL hopes that through these phases, they will be “lighting the way for the compassionate leaders of tomorrow,” inspiring youth to live out the definition of ubuntu. Throughout the process, The Learning Institute at Millersville University, responsible for the initiation and development of this program, will continue to be involved.

“In addition to providing a program to youth within the community to develop and build leadership skills, the program will offer internships and service learning opportunities to various students, across disciplines, at MU,” explains Dr. Karen Rice, associate professor and department chairperson of MU’s School of Social Work.

College students will have opportunities as group co-facilitators and mentors for participants in the program.

After school on Mondays from 4 to 5:30 p.m., young people are encouraged to meet at MU’s Ware Center at 42 N. Prince Street in downtown Lancaster to meet with like-minded peers and to be empowered as leaders in their communities. This program is free for eligible participants. To sign up, email Dr. Karen Rice at karen.rice@millersville.edu.

 

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