Knowing Who You Are brings race/ethnicity discussion to CASA

Jul 16 2013

By Bri Ates

On June 14th and 15th, CASA volunteers and staff joined us at our offices for Knowing Who You Are, a 2-day workshop focused on building cultural competency among child advocates to help children develop the healthy racial and ethnic identity that will be crucial to them growing up to be confident and positive individuals. Our newest program intern, Bri Ates, attended this recent training and shares her experience with us today:

Knowing Who You Are (KWYA) was such an awesome experience! What I remember most from KWYA would have to be having courageous conversations and the feeling of safeness that was created by the group of CASA volunteers and staff. KWYA consisted of both online and in-person training. The in-depth online training was to be completed beforehand, which said a great deal to me about the participants’ commitment. In my eyes, our attendance alone was a testament of our determination to learn and discuss ideas concerning racial and ethnic identities. I found that amazing. The safe environment was created so easily because of that common mindset. One of the first things we did was create a list of group agreements. As a group we decided on how we would treat each other and determined the climate that would encompass our discussions to come. We also established our hopes and fears concerning the training, which introduced a transparency that strengthened throughout the next day and a half.

A courageous conversation is a concept that encourages people to address tough and commonly avoided topics, such as those concerning race and ethnicity. Of course, in CASA’s work, in which we are called to advocate for children that have been abused or neglected, learning how to properly engage in courageous conversations is both critical and priceless. Practice makes perfect. The friendly and open vibe that radiated throughout training made it a great place to practice having those tough conversations. We were given the opportunity to practice through the venue of numerous small and large group activities. I highly encourage attending KWYA; it was a very eye-opening experience!

CASA volunteers: If you are interested in attending Knowing Who You Are, there is another opportunity coming up on Thursday & Friday, August 15-16th. Head to our Continuing Education webpage to learn more and register.