Unfortunately, in underprivileged and low socioeconomic communities, we see a lack of quality care and lack of culturally competent modes of providing services and care to the students and the caregivers in the academic and social systems.
Particularly in our local urban schools schools, where student of color make up the majority of the population, teachers and partnering non profit organizations must understand the “powerful influence” they have in their role of working with students and parents/caregivers.
In working with individuals who have experienced high levels of trauma, including incarceration, assault, rape, homelessness, food disparities and more, being a teacher or contributing non profit service provider, can play a crucial role in with encouraging wellness and excellent academic performance or consequently, discourage a student and their caregiver, causing harm and presenting barriers to academic and social achievement.
In efforts to support a local issue, in the city of Richmond, where a non profits quality of care and cultural competence is in question, I found myself encouraging the school board, educators, the public and community based programs to keep in mind how crucial it is to have the following points in mind before allowing non profits and educators work with our vulnerable and disenfranchised kids and caregivers:
1. It’s very important to have a diverse staff who can relate to the children/caregivers that are being served
2. Implement proper cultural competency trainings to ensure staff are up to date on how to provide culturally sensitive and trauma informed care
3. Encourage a wellness/ self care program or incentive for educators and staff to ensure that the staff are well enough to properly be alert and healthy while serving children and families who are vulnerable and rely on them
4. Learn to really care about those whom you serve! The care, or lack thereof , will indeed impact the “service” you provide and will negatively impact the recipient of that service.
There’s so much to say about how to protect those who are vulnerable, but let’s just end this thought with, speak up for the voiceless and empower those who can’t manifest their power!