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Showing posts from September, 2021

How are you building your cultural competence?

By Nancy Hegland During this calendar year, I am participating in the Racial Equity Leadership Institute , which is offered by the Facilitating Racial Equity Collaborative (FREC). The Institute is designed to increase understanding about race, racial identity, bias, and being anti-racist in a cross-section of educational settings and provide a forum to discuss new learning and translate it into action to change our education system. Each monthly session includes pre-work, a featured speaker and small group discussions, all via zoom technology. This past week, we focused on social identities and systems of oppression. During our small group discussion, I listened to others, shared my thoughts, and then wondered: What is the best way to build cultural competence?   As a youth development professional, it is important to be an active listener, show empathy, and effectively engage with others. These competency behaviors help to create welcoming environments and establish an appreciation f

Trust, volunteerism and equity

By Kathryn Sharpe Photo by Ayo Ogunseinde on The Minnesota Alliance for Volunteer Advancement recently published a powerful report, Co-Creating Racial Equity in Volunteer Engagement: Learning from Listening Sessions with Black, Indigenous and People of Color . In this report, they explore volunteerism and barriers to participation from the perspective of BIPOC individuals. I will spend years unpacking the wisdom and challenges offered in this report, but I want to start here with the question of building trust. MAVA’s report lays out how members of BIPOC communities are often distrustful of engaging with organizations that aren’t BIPOC-led or based in their community because of a tendency for tokenism or what may be seen as an extractive relationship with the community. They often don’t see the organization engaging in the community in a meaningful way.   As a white, US-born woman working for a statewide, historic organization, I am on a journey to work with our volunteer

An open conversation about “special needs” [in youth development]

By Jennifer Cable “The test results have confirmed that your son does indeed have Down Syndrome.” Four days after the birth of my son Theo, these were the words I heard over the phone as my head filled with a million questions. What does this mean? What exactly is Down Syndrome? Am I equipped to be his mom? How does my husband feel right now? How does this impact our family? Will Theo need additional support as he grows? Will this diagnosis affect his development? Will he feel valued? While the only response I could articulate in that moment was “okay” and a muttered “thank you for letting me know,” I knew one thing was certain—I love Theo, as a human and as an individual. As my baby. No matter what.  Recently returning to work, I find myself merging my two worlds together to figure out how I can best advocate and support both my son and the young people in 4-H who may have a disability, whether disclosed or not, visible or not. 4-H Youth Development has communicated its goal in “stren