ATLANTA (March 14) – There was one word that brought sophomore Nathaniel Gerald back to Atlanta for Alternative Spring Break (ASB) in 2012 -- sankofa. The Ghanaian word expresses the idea of taking good things from the past in order to make positive changes in the future.
“One thing I was taught when I was younger was the meaning of ‘sankofa’,” Gerald said. “I’ve had a lot of positive experiences growing up where older people have come and invested a lot in me, pushed me along and taught me some things. So I just wanted to do that for someone else.”
So, that is why Gerald came here with nearly 100 other Howard students – to help someone. It was his second consecutive year in Atlanta. He wants to improve the future of the young pupils of Hope-Hill Elementary School and Fred Armon Toomer Elementary School where he will be tutored during his week here.
He enjoyed his previous ASB so much that he decided to take it up a notch, and this year he volunteered to become a team leader. Though the Cleveland native speaks in soft tones that may make him appear timid, there is an ease and clarity in his voice that reveals a natural and passionate leader.
“This time I am using my position as team leader to practice my leadership skills to encourage and motivate others,” he said.
Team leaders serve as liaison between the site coordinator and the participants on their team. They resolve conflicts and look after the mental and emotional well-being of the students on the trip. Gerald said his role was especially important this year because so many of this year’s Atlanta participants were new to ASB.