HelpLine team members recently gathered for a week of cultural competence training. The training, known as Buzz Week, focused staff on understanding, communicating and interacting with people across cultures.
The week started with a training titled, Cultural and Linguistic Humility facilitated by Lisa Golden, LISW, from National Children’s Hospital which set the stage for subsequent trainings throughout the week. The training focused on the “ability to maintain an interpersonal stance that is other-oriented (or open to the other) in relation to aspects of culture identity that are most important to the person” – or, cultural humility. Additionally, staff learned that effectively conveying information easily understood by a diverse population adds to the linguistic competence required in any workplace, especially a help-giving organization.
HelpLine Associate Director and Buzz Week coordinator, Tiana Purvis, is a strong proponent of strengthening understanding along the cultural continuum. “It’s important that we understand how culture shapes our worldview, values, attitudes, beliefs and experiences,” said Purvis. “Learning to embrace others’ cultural norms while recognizing when our own personal bias is present is an important part of the cultural competence journey.”
Other cultural competence training sessions included:
- African American Populations and Cultural Sensitivity
- Working with Older Adults and Elder Abuse
- Working with Individuals with Disabilities
Putting learning into action, Connections Volunteer Center, a program of HelpLine, coordinated a community service project which provided an opportunity for staff to interact with older adults at residences including
Sarah Moore, St. Michael’s and Riverside Landing. Several of the staff dropped off holiday treat bags while others rolled their sleeves up for gingerbread house decorating.
“Service opportunities often bring people from all backgrounds and walks of life together in support of one cause or project,” said Suzanne Pingry, Program Director, Connections Volunteer Center. “This project was not only a way to put cultural competence into practice but also spread cheer to those who may have spent the holidays alone.”
SafeZone LGBTQI and Stewards of Children abuse prevention training closed out the week. The next installment of professional development efforts are scheduled for June 2018.