The power of a community is undeniable. They hold each other together and lift each other up. Communities are the pillars of this great nation; but they are also the pillar of many households. Growing up in the south, I thought it was just a “southern thing,” but now that I have grown into the young woman I am today, I have learned that I was totally wrong. This is a fact that transcends state lines: it takes a village to raise a child! Surely many have heard the old African proverb, but few realize how many families adhere to and value the phrase.
Sure, every parent may need some help from time to time but that’s not what a village is about. Your village is the very community that holds you up when you’re down; they keep you grounded when you need it most – both child and parent. Sometimes they’re blood related family, other times they’re community based family. Regardless, they’re family nonetheless.
Personally, my village is filled with family, neighbors, close church members, and family friends. They have supported my brother and I since we were kids, which took some of the load off of my parents when they needed it most. When I asked my mom, she stated, “having a reliable village around my family relieved me of a lot of stress by helping me to establish a strong foundation, pitching in whenever we needed them, assisting with carpool pickup or drop off, and allowing my children the flexibility of being able to enjoy extra curricular activities.” She continued, “I do not think my family would have been as successful as we have been without our village! I feel that our success as a family depends on the blessings that God has for us, and it is amazing to me the people that he has blessed us with!”
Villages don’t just take the load off of the parents, they help the child to grow as a person. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the help of my village. From giving me a place to stay to helping me find ways to manifest my talents, my village was there to assist me in any way they could. The way my mom said it was, “A strong village provides support to not only the parents, but the children also. My children were greatly impacted by everyone in our village by the constant level of support they received, encouraging words or someone to confide in at their convenience, and skill sets that allowed my children the exposure they needed to expand their views greater than what we, as just parents, could give.”
The lengths my village went to help my family and I were endless. My neighbor gave me a ride to school everyday up until I was able to drive so that my parents could get to work. She would always ask how I was doing and listen to me go on and on about bad days at school or situations that bothered me. She helped me to see that it is my responsibility to live everyday to the fullest and to the best of my ability regardless of how the world feels about it. My childhood friend’s father, whom I lovingly refer to as uncle, would talk to me about college when I was only in middle school. He helped enhance the HBCU experience that my mother had exposed me to through her education and helped me solidify my place in this community. He also encouraged me to explore career options and, once I had decided that I wanted to be a journalist like him, he took me in as his mentee and showed me the endless possibilities that could be available to me if I work hard. My brother was no different. The very same man that took me in and became my mentor did the same for him. When my brother was a senior in high school, he decided that he wanted to explore djing for his senior project. My uncle just so happened to be the neighborhood dj as a side hustle. He took my brother in and taught him everything he knew. Now, my brother is the campus dj for his HBCU, Stillman College, the surrounding university, the University of Alabama, and is now traveling to other states sharing his talents.
I can not thank my village enough for getting me to where I am today. This is not to diminish the amazing job my mom and dad did in raising my brother and I. The sacrifices they made and challenges they overcame were many and continue to this day. I am eternally grateful for them and all that they do. Be that as it may, my village did make a huge impact in my life and, gratefully, it is still increasing with more and more people that want to see me succeed. That is the best thing I could ever ask for.