Unity in Diversity

We may be just one drop but a lot of drops together make a river.

There are many different ways to say hello in the world: hola, ciao, kon’nichiwa, salut, shalom etc. The world is diverse so there are many ways to do anything. Diversity is very broad, It goes beyond what the eyes can see.  It’s adds value, diversity isn’t the problem….it is the solution. 

Tied into diversity is culture.  Culture sometimes can be who we are, how we define ourselves.  Sometimes we can loose or culture. Do we have cultural amnesia? Do we know what are culture is? 
We visited some organization that not only embrace diversity but uses it to bring everyone together. 

Green Plate Special

Green Plate Special’s mission is to inspire and empower youth to experience food in new ways through gardening, cooking and eating together.

  

The Hillman City Collboratory 

The Hillman City Collaboratory is a non-profit, cooperative multi-purpose space shared by grassroots organizations and individuals who care about social change, creative expression, and community building.    

  YouthCare 

YouthCare is an organization that value hard work, dedication to helping homeless youth move from survival mode into thriving and healthy young adulthood. YouthCare serves young people of many racial and ethnic backgrounds, abilities, sexual orientations, gender identities, and religious beliefs, and seek a workforce that reflects that diversity.

There can truly be unity in diversity. We just have to remember that diversity isn’t the problem….it is the solution! 

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Creativity can be the start of something. 

Another word for creativity is courage. 

~George Prince

Are you creative? 

In order to be creative, a person needs to be able to view things in new ways or from a different perspective. 

I consider myself a creative person. I can come up with really good ideas that are fun and exciting. My creativity takes time though,  it happens naturally. I can’t force it in anyway. I always feel that the more I try to think of an idea the harder it is to obtain one. I always let my creativity flow freely. 

Creativity can be seen in many forms, even in organizations. We visited a very creative organization call Real Change.

Real Change is an award-winning weekly newspaper that provides immediate employment opportunity for the poor and homeless and takes action for economic, social, and racial justice.

Vendors are able to buy the newspaper for a small fee and then sell them on the streets. The money they make is strictly theirs. 

There Values:

  • Courage: Telling the truth and taking risks
  • Community: Fostering healthy relationships across differences
  • Creativity: Pushing beyond the obvious to promote change
  • Compassion: Treating everyone with respect and accepting them as they are
  • Integrity: Doing what we say and taking responsibility for our mistakes

Real Change is just one out of many creative organizations in Seattle doing great things.

Where will your creativity lead you? 

Catmando, one of the vendors telling his story.

Identity. 

1. Who are you? 

2. What do you want to do? 

We are often ask the second question. Everyone wants to know what you want to do in life. The first question is more personal. 

Who we are is tied into our identity. Often times our identity is intertwined with where we are.

I had the opportunity to meet with Larry Gossett a Kings County Councilmember. From the little time I spent with him I like Larry Gossett. He seems to be a good person and a good citizen. When one of the students ask Mr. Gossett why he became a councilmember his answer was simple: He was born and raised in Seattle and he wanted to help his city. 

This is how I feel about my island and my country Eleuthera, Bahamas. I see a need for development on my island and I want to help. I think that I can help. I can’t answer the question who are you without including Eleuthera.

I am an island girl who wants to help her island and has rediscovered my love for my county. 

I am a lot of things but right now I am content with the above mentioned answer. 

So I ask you, Who are you? 

  

Airport Life

It seems that airports haven’t been a source of luck during this trip. Let me tell you the story about howwe got stuck in Chicago….

August 15 was traveling day. We were at the airport and ready to depart to our host cities. Our home for 12 days will be Seattle. The air was filled with excitement to be in a new city and nervousness about meeting our host families. Everything was going as planned and then our flight to Chicago got delayed.

It wasn’t just our flight that got delayed almost every flight was delayed. What was the problem you ask? Baltimore airport lost its radar. This meant that no flights could enter or leave Baltimore. Where were we? We were in CT but our flight to Chicago was coming from Baltimore. Usually a delay wouldn’t be a problem but we had a connecting flight from Chicago to Seattle.

The outcome of all of this was that we missed our connecting flight to Seattle. The decision was to overnight in Chicago and fly to Seattle the next day, August 16. We arrived in Chicgao at night to find that our luggage was not there. Could the day get any better?

Oh yes it did! Despite the delays, miss flights and no luggage the day in Chicago was great! It was an unplan trip and I am happy that I got the chance to explore it. I did ask for an adventure…I sure got one. 

Next stop? Seattle…Finally!!!!

   
   

Johari Window

  Have you ever heard of a Johari Window before? I haven’t before this week. 

The Johari Window concept is a simple and useful tool for illustrating and improving self-awareness, and mutual understanding between individuals within a group.

Apparently a Johari Window  means that there are things about us that other people may know but we may not know about ourselves. Does that make sense? 

As I am sitting here reflecting on my time In Vermont I am wondering if there are things about myself that I do not know. How well do I know me? How well do you know yourself?

Vermont was a very interesting experience for me. It was definitely weird returning to New England after being away for so many years. I graduated from high school in 2009 and I haven’t return since. I had experienced many first in boarding school and it seems that returning back to New England I am experiencing more first.

I have meet so many people from across the Carribean, heard so many accents and learned so much about countries all in one week. The Carribean is filled with interesting and diverse people and I am happy that I got to meet a small faction of them.

I feel that this trip is giving me the opportunity to reevaluate myself, my goals and my life. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and for once I feel like I am on track, that I am on the right path and going where I need to go.  

Is there a leader in you? 

What does it mean to be a leader? That was the question of the day. Not only does a leader lead, they also guide. 

Leadership involves an influenced, multi-directional relationship between leaders and followers that is on-coercive.

There are many people around us that are in leadership positions but they are being a boss instead of being a leader. What are qualities that make someone a leader? What separates a leader from the rest. 

Being a leader is a give and take realtionship…like canoeing. 

Yesterday we went canoeing. It was a very interesting experience. Being able to canoe involves team work. If one person isn’t doing there job the boat will not go where it needs to go. The person in the back of the boat steers it and the person in the front helps to move it. Yesterday my boat mates learn a very important lesson in team work. At first we were all doing what we wanted and weren’t working together and the boat didn’t move much. Then we started coordinating our movements and it all started to work. 

Like that canoe, being a leader takes teamwork. It involves more than one person doing what they are suppose to do. 

Leadership is action not position.

   
   

A rainy day…causes a delay. 

Today was a very rainy day in Vermont and it has changed a lot of plans. The rain I believe is a blessing. It brings a lot of things with it, hope, newness…it’s  a cleansing. 

I found myself on this raining day reflecting. Reflecting on who I am and what brought me on this journey. I was asked today,  along with the other adult mentors, “what drew me to apply to this program?”

I found that a lot of the adult mentors ideas are the same. We want to learn as much as we can, gain experience, make connects and take all of this achievements back to our home country. We want to help develop our country and be a part of change. 

After I answered the question, a number of emotions ran through me. I was shock, surprised, happy and then I felt at peace about my response. Two years ago I did not think that I would be living at home working on developmenting my island. I actually wanted to be as far away from the Bahamas as I could be. My my…how things have changed. 

I am happy that I ended up where I am today. I am a part of  a great team at One Eleuthera foundation doing great things for my island. I’m working with great people who share the same passions as I am.; Service, community, improvement, change…that list could go on forever. 

Being able to share my journey with the adult mentors has helped to discovery that my choice to stay was the right one. I feel validated that I am at the right place in life doing what I need to do. 

With the rain comes a sense of understanding….a sense of peace. 

What’s in a name? 

Names mean different things to different people. The power of a name and its value has long been immortalized in many different ways. Everyone recognizes himself or herself by name. “A name is the grouping of several letters of an alphabet, or other symbols, which represent the identification of a person or an object.”

How would you feel if you had to memeroize 50 names in one day? Could you do it? 

This was the task for the day. 

The day was filled with name games and team builders. I will admit…I don’t know all 50 names of the participants but  I do know some of them. I hope by the end of the week I will report that I know all 50 names, but not just names. I hope by the end of the week I will know the character of each persons. You will hold me to that? I hope you do.

You know my name, not my story. You’ve heard what I’ve done, but not what I’ve been through.

Jonathan Anthony Burkett

    
   

Welcome to Vermont!

When life gives you lemons you make lemonaid. 

Never has that statement been more truer than it has today. 5 hours spent in the airport AFTER arrival. Five Youth Ambassdor groups had already arrived, our bags were in the bus and we were ready to go. Then the airport was put on lock down, which meant that none of the flights could land. This also meant that the flight from Jamaica with the last group in it couldn’t land. So we sat and waited. 

We were given a lemon and the students made lots of lemonaid. I’m proud of the students today. They didn’t complain and they took the day in stride. They bonded, socliazed and got to know one another. Never will I look at the JFK airport the same way again. We finally arrived into Vermont at 11:15pm. Better late than never I say. 

To help pass the time we were thought the banana song. Have you heard about the banana song? Let me teach it to you. 

The banana song:

Peel banana peel peel banana x3

Go bananas go go bananas x2

So it basically takes 3 peels to peel a banana correct? So the first line of the song you will be peeling the banana with your right hand and making wavy motions down. The second line you will be peeling with your left hand and making wavy motions down. The third line will be sung in a whisper. And the last two lines…you’re going to go bananas! Basically dance crazy.

And there you have the banana song. 

Happy peeling!! 😉