You are an employee at Spokes of Hope Worldwide (SoHW), a nonprofit organization that seeks to broaden access to education by donating bicycles to students who need them. Recently, the Society for New Americans (SNA) approached your organization with a proposal to set up a community partnership. SNA is a community nonprofit organization that assists new immigrants and resettled refugees with their transition to life in the United States. Part of SNA’s mission is to increase access to education within the different cultural communities it serves. SNA is interested in working with SoHW to provide bicycles to these same communities. Its employees are excited by SoHW’s long history of international cross-cultural partnerships, and they are hoping to hear a bit more about how your employees would approach this new partnership from a culturally competent perspective. They have expressed concerns about misunderstandings because their employees and clients come from all over the world. It will be necessary to train employees at SoHW and demonstrate cultural competence to SNA. Greg Gears, your supervisor, has tasked you with leading this effort. This will require you to develop a training handout for SoHW employees, complete and evaluate reflection activities, and speak to employees at SoHW and the SNA board of directors.
Now that you have done this handout and learned about cultural competency, it will help you to spend some time reflecting on your own understandings of culture. You found two helpful resources in the SoHW office: Cultural Autobiography Guide and Learning About Others Worksheet. Take some time to complete the Cultural Autobiography Guide and Learning About Others Worksheet while reflecting on your experiences with different cultures.
While you are reflecting, you notice an email from Greg. He was pleased with your handout, and would like to begin working with the staff. His email, included in the Project Resources, contains further instructions about preparing a workshop that will get employees at SoHW thinking more deeply about their own cultures before approaching new situations. Use your personal reflections to help you plan the workshop, but you won’t be sharing any personal, sensitive information with Greg as that is not legally acceptable for your boss to request.
This is the email:
Demonstrate Cultural Competence, Personal Reflections Greg’s Email Thank you again for creating that handout! In order to share this information with our employees and the SNA board, I want you to put together a 1-page outline for what you’ll say during a workshop on cultural competency. Don’t worry about delivery yet, just focus on the content. Use the material from your handout to create an outline that explains ★ cultural competency and its importance ★ cross cultural relationships ★ why it helps to reflect on one’s own experiences ★ what questions help someone learn about the cultures of others ★ the effects of biases and how to remain aware of them ★ how these considerations and this knowledge will help the upcoming partnership run smoothly Send the outline back to me in an email as soon as you are done. The people over at SNA are very excited about this partnership, and you are playing a key role in reassuring them that our employees are ready for this opportunity.
Cultural Autobiography Guide
In this exercise, you will reflect on your own cultural background to create a Cultural Autobiography, a 1- to 2-page document describing your own culture or cultures, and your experiences with other cultures. Please note that because most of us come from families and communities that are influenced by multiple cultures, cultural identity is not a simple idea, and reflecting on your own culture(s) and cultural experiences is not an easy task. It may even be uncomfortable at times. Keep in mind that the purpose of the Cultural Autobiography is not to put your cultural identity into one neat category; instead, it is to explore what culture has meant to you in your own life. There is no need to share information that you would rather keep private. The only expectation is that you thoughtfully consider and explain how culture has influenced your views and experiences. The following questions may help you to reflect before you begin writing. Culture and Society With which culture(s) do you identify? What makes you a part of each culture? What culture or cultures are most important to you? What are the material aspects of your culture(s)? What are the nonmaterial aspects of your culture(s)? Who else belongs to your culture(s)? In what society is/are your culture(s) rooted, if any? Beliefs What are some things that you believe based on your culture(s)? Does/Do your culture(s) share any beliefs with other cultures? How do your culture-based beliefs shape your actions? Norms What are some norms of your culture(s)? What happens when members of your culture(s) do not follow these norms? Do people in your culture typically believe that everyone, even those from other cultures, should follow these norms? Sensibilities How does/do your culture(s) view the following? ● race ● religion ● gender ● sexual orientation ● physical ability ● other cultures Examples Was there a time that you misunderstood another culture? Was there a time you felt that someone misunderstood your culture(s)? What positive experiences have you had with other cultures? What challenging experiences have you had with other cultures? How did you navigate those moments?