ubuntu banner 1

Strengthening Youth Leadership

Transforms Communities

Ubuntu Arts Community brings together children, age nine to thirteen, with First Generation members, college interns and artists, in a caring community that focuses on intergenerational mentoring, leadership skills, the arts, social justice, and community engagement.

Ubuntu is based at Lt. Clayre P. Sullivan School in Holyoke and is a partnership between the school, The Care Center and The Performance Project.  Meeting four days a week, Ubuntu always begins with a Community Circle and then transitions into a variety of activities. Ubuntu children experience workshops in drumming, dance, visual arts, karate, theater, music, storytelling, poetry and homework support. Our afternoons end with journaling and a closing circle.

The foundation of Ubuntu is caring relationships. We strive to infuse our small community with kindness, listening and generosity. Our goal is for Ubuntu children to develop the confidence, initiative and courage to spread “ubuntu” within Sullivan School, their families and beyond. 

First Gen mentors participate in trainings which deepen their skills in mentoring. These trainings include topics such as listening and empathic communication, conflict de-escalation, gender equity, building an understanding of the socialization of boys, hyper-masculinity, leadership styles, and group facilitation.

First Generation youth and Ubuntu children plan and host Family and Community Celebrations which are wonderful Saturday afternoon gatherings of music, dance, poetry, theater and food. They include performances by the Ubuntu children, First Gen members, family members, and also live music by professional artists. They are open to the public and always well attended! 

We believe that strengthening these skills in young people has a direct long-term impact on our communities!



WHAT IS UBUNTU? Ubuntu is a classical African philosophy. It is the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks about the fact that we cannot exist as a human being in isolation. Ubuntu is about our interconnectedness. Ubuntu says that you can't be fully human all by yourself, and when you have this quality - Ubuntu - you are known for your generosity.

“We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole world. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.”   - Desmond Tutu

“A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.”   - Desmond Tutu