The unique mission of the CUUB program, beyond that of a typical Upward Bound program, is threefold:
CUUB's vision is to inspire and empower students to succeed, and to celebrate their cultural identities in whatever postsecondary path they chose.
CUUB’s OUR FIRE Values are at the core of our program, guiding the actions of each member of the CUUB community and helping us carry out our mission. Every member of CUUB, from the Directors to the students, strives to embody these values, which are ultimately about making sure that each of us is supported and can find our own version of success and happiness.
The OUR FIRE Values come from CUUB’s firm belief that everyone has a gift. Everyone has a light, a fire, inside of them that they bring to the communities they join. In a community like CUUB, the fires we bring can bring warmth and light to the collective; we can lend fire to each other’s struggles, reignite and inspire each other to succeed, and ultimately become stronger together.
CUUB’s OUR FIRE Values are:
Open - Experiential learning is a hallmark of the CUUB program, and is something that everyone, from the students to the staff to the Directors, must recommit themselves to each year. For CUUB to be sustained and sustain its members, all of us must be willing to embrace new experiences, encounter new people and cultures, and step outside of their comfort zones. CUUB believes that all of us are meant for something beyond ourselves, but we can’t hope to realize that potential if we remain closed to the gifts that the Universe provides us.
Unbreakable – Everyone who comes to our community brings their own history of struggling with adversity, and the ability to stand up after being knocked down is something we cultivate at CUUB through our indigenous-centered pedagogical philosophy. Ultimately, we teach that resiliency comes not only from within each participant, but also from the group as a whole, and that together we are unbreakable.
Respectful - For CUUB, respect begins with acknowledging that all things are connected--we are all related. Respect happens when those relations are honored through words and actions, which means that the wellness of the relation is considered and actively protected. In CUUB, every member of our community must demonstrate respect for: the environment we share, the spaces we enter, the community we build together, our elders, the roles we occupy, one another, and ourselves.
Familial – Although we use the word “community” often to describe ourselves, the sense of community toward which CUUB aspires at all levels goes beyond concepts like "community" or "network"; from staff to students, it is critical that we see ourselves as a family, in which the success of one member is mutually dependent upon the success and wellness and sustainability of the group. Furthermore, as our students prepare for the transition into their postsecondary academic paths, we recognize that relying on family is vital for students to persist in spite of the unique stressors that they will encounter. We must respect the fact that all of our students have different experiences with the concept of family, but one thing we can provide is a shared family for all of them to rely on as they move forward on their paths.
Invaluable - The worth of our students cannot be measured in the grades, test scores, and assessments they receive in the CUUB program or in their schools. In fact, nothing can measure or capture their worth. Whereas Western models of education pressure students to perform, achieve, and produce along capitalist scales of value, CUUB reminds all of its members that they are invaluable, and that nothing can take away from their worth.
Reciprocal – Reciprocity goes hand-in-hand with Respect: by acknowledging all of your relations, you can learn how to better yourself through those connections and how you can enrich the world around you. Reciprocity moves beyond teaching students how to be resourceful and to take advantage of the concepts, strategies, and institutions around them to succeed, and toward a sustainable model of interdependent growth. Reciprocity has both an intrapersonal and interpersonal component. CUUB believes that in order to sustain the fire within each of us, we must be mindful of the reciprocal relationship between our spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical selves, and work toward a balance between all of them; CUUB also believes that our collective fire is one that is sustained by mindfulness of each of the community. When one of us is feeling burnt out, it affects the whole, so we must actively uplift each other in order to uplift ourselves. Your fire is connected to mine, that your struggle is my struggle, your wellness is tied to my wellness, and that when you grow I do as well.
Empathetic - In a certain sense, empathy is a prerequisite for all of the OUR FIRE values, because it requires us to imagine ourselves in the position of another. Without taking that step to think outside of oneself, all of the other values can wind up becoming self-serving and unsustainable. Through active listening and imagining, empathy allows us to de-center ourselves within the collective. This helps us to see and feel not only the struggles of another member of the collective, but also their unique gifts and purpose. Empathy therefore informs all of our actions in the collective, because it teaches us how to ease struggle, nurture gifts, and help each other find purpose. And empathy also involves the trust that the rest of the community will do the same for you.