Quotes from Soulforce Fellows

I know we came to change the world, but really I’m the one who has changed. 

 

Mindfulness and other tools we learned give me the ability to unplug and really understand what is true and what is core to my leadership.

 

I came in wanting to be a teacher or nurse.  Those are great jobs, but I think what I really want to do is be a senator or a governor or a civil rights attorney.  

 

In Zimbabwe, we have this tremendous sense of spirit and community.  I want to create that community here in Mountain View, and I feel we can do that with Soulforce.

 

What I love the most about Soulforce is how vulnerable and real we get and how we feel like a family.  I got to know people more deeply than I did with other students I went to school with all year. 

 

I have learned to not be a bystander. Whether I see bullying in the lunch yard, or I see violence on TV, I know I want to do something about it. 

 

I came into this program not knowing if I could be a leader. Now I know that I am.

 

It is my responsibility to give back to my community. The have given me so much over the past several years and I want to give back before I leave.

 

I know I will work with my teammates on these causes for the rest of my life.


There are many other leadership programs, but none like Soulforce.  At Soulforce, we become balanced. It is about heart and actions, not just about how smart you are.

 

Quotes from Soulforce Parents

 

I came to watch my kid tell us about her work, but really I’m walking away thinking I need to being doing more.

 

My daughter is moving around the world differently than she did before. She has a bounce in her step. 

 

I was pleasantly surprised to see what my daughter spoke about in her work.  I didn’t know she has that passion and it really taught me a lot about her. 

 

My daughter spoke up at the City Council meeting without telling anyone and I knew that she was changed because of this.  

 

My daughter gave up her stipend this summer to someone else who might have needed it. I was shocked she did that but she has been inspired by the notion of generosity. 

 

Soulforce is an amazing leadership development program that every city in America should have.

From Tino Tugwete, Soulforce Leadership 2015 Summer Fellow

My experience in Soulforce as being on of the defining moments in my life. That might sound overzealous, but I truly feel that way. It's the first time in my almost sixteen years that I've been able to translate my thoughts about the problems in my community and then take actual part in finding ways to solve the problems or at least raise awareness that there ARE problems. Soulforce has become a canvas for my fellows and I to look into ourselves as well as the world around us and appreciate the diverseness of our community, while taking care in serving each other on both an interpersonal and communal level. Its been a very empowering project for me to say the least. I've learned what it means to work with a group who is just as passionate and anxious as I am to do SOMETHING no matter how small to connect and serve. Its amazing how many times we,as a community, have found comfort and strength from each other to keep pushing forward no matter what we faced during this summer. My group mates (Emily and Kevin) and I chose to work on gentrification,specially on raising awareness and starting an open dialogue about the issue,its effects,and how to help those who suffer from the negative aspects of gentrification. I chose this topic because its something that I've been experiencing and sensing as an underlying theme in my community. I see the culture of areas like downtown slowly changing and the people who lived here longest no longer able to sustain themselves and therefor leaving. My family and friends have moved out of the city because though it may appear as though mountain view hasn't changed too much structurally, things like rent prices have doubled for some or increased too highly for others. There are new people coming in and improving the overall quality of living, but also forgetting to cater to what had already been in Mountain View, the people who can't afford this new standard and don;t feel they have a voice to say anything.  This is all occurring in various forms, but it isn't explicitly labeled "gentrification" so the dialogue around the issue is limited and contained in offices rather than out in the community. We decided to start by making a video featuring various people sharing what they have observed and their experiences with gentrification and what they want to change.Human centered design is especially prevalent in our project because we realize gentrification has many benefits, but the people who slip through the crack often have no way to share their ideas and be heard.We wanted to focus on sharing thoughts on little topics within the big umbrella of gentrification, like rent prices and relationships within the community and get some people's thoughts on what they view as most important to make gentrification more of a positive than something that takes away from the community rather than adding to it. We noticed that their really was a lack of communication between community members and officials who could help alleviate some of the hardships that occur when a community changes and wanted to be a bridge that connects and allows ideas to pass between the groups. We are all a part of this community so if we can set aside our positions and prejudices we should be able to band together and serve each other as a true community and improve the quality of life for everyone. There is no need to choice between growth and marinating the history of mountain view and the people who go with it, We can have both if we find a balance that works for everyone through communication and actually caring to find this balance from all parts of the conversation. If there is anything you want me to go into more feel free to ask. I hope I gave you something you can use and help with your story. Soulforce is truly one of the best things to happen in my life. I'm already changed and more confident in myself. It was my validation and strength this summer thank you for allowing me to share some of my thoughts

Thank you,

Tino