Umbuntu: Spreading the feeling over the hot Milwaukee Summer
There is an African Philosophy called Umbuntu that means “I am because we are… a person is a person through other people”. The philosophy of Umbuntu has intrigued me since I learned about it. I have gradually embraced the principles of collectivism, personal responsibility, modeling and community since earlier in my adulthood, but I never heard these principles summarized in such a beautiful concise way! These principles have always been at the heart of my work with men, boys and community and I attempt to create spaces where these ideas are able to have a home.
This summer, our Men’s Wellness movement has taken our Umbuntu philosophy even further. In partnership with our neighborhood men we have hosted an effective weekly series called The Boys 2 Leaders Project. We are getting out in the community as well and collectively raising awareness about health as a team in this weekend’s 5K Men’s Wellness Walk. We are planning joint activities with both groups which allows for mentorship and positive social activities. Our much anticipated joint activity will be a big tailgating party at the Brewer’s game at the end of August.
Boys 2 Leaders
Boys 2 Leaders is a project meant to engage the youth (primarily young men) of the Lindsay Heights Neighborhood with therapeutic activities, conversations and workshops on conflict resolution, pain grieving and hearing trauma, anger management, manhood, community development, self-accountability and career paths skills throughout the summer months in effort to create stronger peer youth leaders.
Running a successful Boys 2 Leaders project means coordinating a program that doesn’t depend only on Walnut Way staff participation; men of the neighborhood have done an excellent job guiding youth towards workshops, participating and adding value during the sessions, talking to parents and providing outside mentoring and counsel to our youth.
The project has also seen benefit from the participation of some of our dedicated partners from the mental health, mediation, academic and business community. Our guest facilitator, Professor Charles Robinson, led this past Tuesday’s workshop titled “Learning to Make Peace through Mediation”. Robinson has worked in the practice of family mediation for over 30 years. In this workshop, he taught about the root of conflicts, how the brain is developed, communication gaps, and gave simple tips on improving communication and avoiding conflict.
Those interested will be invited to an upcoming mediation training and can start on their own paths to become mediators of peace. Next week we will continue will a special session lead by our neighborhood partners Running Rebels on scenarios and difficult choices.
5K Men’s Wellness Walk
The 5K Men’s Wellness Walk is an annual event on Milwaukee’s Riverwalk that celebrates the health goals and achievements of men. Every year since its inception, the event has grown larger with greater participation. Our walk team will consist of 10 men (including myself) that will walk. This is the fourth year of this event and this is our movement’s third year of participation. The principles of the Walk and the Men’s Wellness are very aligned and therefore the men of the project are very much looking forward to the event as always. Last year’s event provided a great opportunity to fellowship, eat good food and get some exercise.
We would love if some of you all that take the time to read this… take the time to come down and support us more on the 5K Men’s Wellness Walk: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/annual-5k-mens-wellness-walk-tickets-32787497287
Tailgate at the Brewer’s Game
At the end of every summer, we try to provide a recreation event that allows us to reward those that lend their time and committed to us all summer and gives an opportunity to celebrate another Boys 2 Leaders summer project in the books! This year we will be hosting a tailgate for the men and youth and then catching a Brewers Game at Miller Park. It still amazes me how many of our youth have never been to Miller Park and seen a live game. Our men can’t wait to show off their grilling skills and pregame ball tossing prowess!
2017 has been a year full of challenges and our project has especially felt the effects, despite this reality, I am very proud of the resilience of the men and youth that are part of our movement! Thanks to the growing spirit of Umbuntu that drives us! I see bright days for both Walnut Way and it’s Men’s Projects!
Peace and Prosperity~ Terron