20 Stories over 20 Years
Umoja is incredibly proud to celebrate our 20th Anniversary during the 2017/2018 school year! In honor of this important milestone for our organization, we are excited to share 20 of our favorite stories from the past 20 years. These are stories of transformation, growth, turning points, and change. They make up the fabric of Umoja’s history, and they lay the groundwork for Umoja’s future.
We will publish these stories every few weeks throughout our anniversary year, so check back soon for new updates. Enjoy!
The Beginning by Lila Leff
On Monday, August 18, 1997, Lila Leff walked through the doors of Manley Career Academy High School for the first time with a wild idea about starting an organization that would be housed in Manley and would create family-school-community partnerships to effect real, positive change in the lives of Manley students. MORE >
A Message for My High School Self by Dr. Benjamin Straughter
Ben Straughter was your all-around high school student. He describes his then high school self as determined, prepared, popular, involved, and engaged. As a young man with aspirations for college, the path wasn’t always clear. Here, Ben tells the story of how Umoja empowered him to take the necessary steps towards his future… MORE >
The Power of Partnership: A Teacher's Tale by Anthony Smith and Aubrie Tossmann
Our Social Emotional Learning team, in partnership with our schools, develops a student-centered culture that starts in Seminar classrooms and permeates school-wide. We asked Tony Smith, Umoja Senior Seminar teacher at Sullivan High School, and our Director of Social Emotional Learning, Aubrie Tossmann, to reflect on Umoja’s value “Partnership” and the importance of Social Emotional Learning in our schools. MORE >