Living Kwanzaa Intern Training 2007

Community Development Skills For Young Professionals

by Koren Fatima Clark

The training was held on August 1st and was part of a Summer Planning Project funded by UCSC Educational Partnership Center (EPC) under the auspices of their University College Engagement (UCE) Grant. Program Coordinator Nubra Floyd and Event Coordinator Koren Clark served as co-facilitators for the daylong retreat. Koren and fellow Community Service Interns, Mary Moran and Gabe Neill-Craft led activities that spoke to the seven Kwanzaa principles, while meeting specific training objectives. Kali Houchen, who has not yet joined the intern program, also did a presentation, and, afterwards, Nubra opened the way for each of us to share about our collective and individual purpose. NIA = PURPOSE.

Mary explained that for her Second Saturday was a way to receive a much needed hand and be pulled up and out of what she called her “personal chaos” into something more sustainable and real.  She used the metaphor of a group of people climbing up a mountain and each one having to lend the next person a hand to reach the top and make their vision a reality.  UMOJA = UNITY.

Gabe talked about being able to realize another way of life that led him away from the streets while still maintaining his identity.  Second Saturday provided him with a way to effectively get kids off of the streets and show them another way.  Many people speak theoretically about getting kids of f the street, but Gabe made it real, when he said, “the kids are just hungry they need something–anything! So I thought how about this… I’ll give you something positive to chew on for awhile–and man they took it–they like flew with it!” UJIMA = COLLECTIVE WORK + RESPONSIBILITY.

Then Kali said, “Through Second Saturday, I can be a big sister. The younger girls look up to me and they can talk to me about anything while receiving effective guidance that they cannot receive from their parents nor from someone their age.  They are looking at us.” UJAAMA = COOPERATIVE ECONOMICS.

Koren shared her purpose by saying, “I didn’t know anyone was looking at me. I was just kind of out there on my own trying to do the college thing but seeing no purpose, not realizing the stakes and believing that no one really cared.”  She said Second Saturday provided the kind of community that she needed in her challenging times and felt that community could help the future Santa Cruz generation through similar challenges. IMANI = FAITH.

The retreat participants were all given the charge to plants seeds in their communities that they would nurture for a life time, and Second Saturday Network was charged with providing a sustainable garden for those activities. Exploring and engaging each Kwanzaa principle connected us to one another  and provided us with a higher sense of  purpose – to nurture the roots of an intergenerational community venture in which we can all have a future stake. KUJICHAGULIA = SELF DETERMINATION.


Photos by Mary D. Moran