Updated: Jan 10
We interviewed Amanda Daloisio & Sandra Wilson of Fairfield Yabantu about the recent launch of The Fairfield Yabantu Youth Center to learn more about the group's initiative and how to support this much needed resource for our community.
The Fairfield Yabantu Youth Center
Days: Mondays & Fridays
Times: 5:30PM - 7:15PM Location: First Church Congregational 148 Beach Road Fairfield, CT 06824
Ages: Grade 2-10
What is the mission of The Fairfield Yabantu Youth Center? The Fairfield Yabantu Youth Center serves and guides young people as they navigate their educational and social experiences. We provide a student-centered, growth mindset, wholesome space twice a week. We provide academic support, learn together how to self-advocate, and reinforce the truth that we all have something to learn and something to teach. On Mondays, we focus on homework and enrichments. Fridays are a recreational time for young scholars who have shown dedication to self-improvement. During this time, it is the goal of the program to have young people positively play and learn alongside nurturing and supportive adults.
How did YYC come together?
The Fairfield Yabantu Youth Center is a direct result of our antiracism work in the community. The values of proximity and mutuality that are at the center of all we do are lived out in the Youth Center. So we begin each gathering by reading a quote from Desmond Tutu about Ubuntu. "A person is a person through other persons. A solitary human being is a contradiction in terms. A totally self-sufficient human being is ultimately subhuman. We are made for complementarity. I have gifts that you do not; you have gifts that I do not. So we need each other to be fully human."
We understand how racism impacts and influences the educational and social systems that our children grow up in. To counter this we create a space to better understand our own power to make change, in ourselves and in the world. We have an admiration for groundbreaking educational programs like Harlem Children’s Zone and the Jesuit’s Nativity Mission Center School, as well as the critical work and words of Marian Wright Edelman. This work is intended to cultivate the mind, body, and soul of young people.
Does YYC currently need anything? Resources, supplies, volunteers etc? If so how can the community help to support YYC? The Youth Center is a very new community experiment for us! Right now we are in need of school supplies, games, and books that reinforce our values of equality, empowerment and social change. We are also in need of donations for snacks. Donations can be made through Venmo @fairfield_yabantu or through PayPal @FairfieldYabantu. How can someone who is interested in volunteering get involved? We are looking for adults and families who are interested in helping us create a culture of mutuality. The adults are not merely tutors but must come with a willingness to learn and grow and to challenge and be challenged along with the community. Please email us at FairfieldYabantu@gmail.com if you are interested.
Can you tell me something about the students and volunteers who are at YYC?
Thus far, all the young people who have come into the space have valued the idea of disrupting the divisive nature of classism and racism by intentionally working together regardless of age, class, race, and ability. The young people of the Youth Center are individuals who have come to embrace the idea of interdependence. These young people come into the space with humility, compassion, and a desire to learn from others and share their gifts with others. All these are various aspects of Ubuntu philosophy. We are not here to measure up but uplift each other. We understand that our humanity is intertwined with one another.
The adults who come into the space also understand the intentionality required when in the space. We are disruptors, and we must operate with radical love. We are all governed by the philosophy of Ubuntu and antiracism.
What would you say to someone who wants to come but is feeling a bit shy?
You can be shy, but you must also be moved to action when it comes to being antiracist and disrupting the system. We must be radical. This effort requires a level of courage from all participants. Please email us and let us know you would like to come by and check out what is happening at the Youth Center!
For more information please visit The Fairfield Yabantu wesbite: www.fairfieldyabantu.com
Visit their Instagram here: Fairfield Yabantu Instagram
All images via Fairfield Yabantu Instagram page