As a response to the myriad of issues regarding “otherness in America,” which seemed to culminate in last year’s incidents of social and civil unrest, Trinity Youth Services (TYS) formed a Diversity, Inclusion, Value and Equity (DIVE) team to provide a space where staff members could ensure their voice and choice were given consideration and weight in the decision-making of the agency. The team is composed of staff from each of Trinity’s locations and encompasses every level of service. TYS felt the same space should be created for the youth of the agency. With this in mind, TYS partnered with the SOURCE Nonprofit Consulting team from Claremont McKenna College (CMC). Their purpose is to celebrate and spark community collaboration on issues such as the arts, human services, and education. Together, a DIVES (Diversity, Inclusion, Values, Equity, and Social Justice) program was created. The aim of the program was to create an open and safe environment that allows youth opportunity to discuss their experiences and opinions regarding DIVES topics.
Four members of the TYS DIVE team worked closely with the CMC SOURCE task force, to expand the staff’s programming into a curriculum for our youth. The program is designed to span out into a 5-month program. The program features five units, which are referred to as episodes, and centered around one of the DIVES topics. Each episode consists of three class-sessions, one being the educational resources and discussion, the second being follow-up activities, and the final class-session revolving around a capstone project.
Diversity is the topic of episode one and focuses on explaining how embracing diversity is not a quick, easy fix. It is an issue that is systemic and requires proper education and understanding. Another key focus of this episode showcases the benefits of having a diverse population and why it is important.
Inclusion is the topic of episode two and focused on emphasizing why a sense of belonging and support should be created intentionally by groups, institutions, and society. Another focal point of this episode is eliminating implicit or explicit barriers when involving all groups of people.
Value is the topic of episode three and defined it as the beliefs that individuals have that guide the way they live, work, and interact with others. Values usually reflect one’s life experiences, family, culture, etc. and should help determine your priorities as well. The focus point of this episode was to have youth “trace” their values and see how they have changed over time and help them identify and learn to put into practice their own values in the context of the greater community.
Equity is the topic of episode four, which focuses on the fair treatment for all people in terms of one’s opportunities, advancement, and self-valuation. Additionally, equity includes actively working towards ensuring that all treatment is fair.
Social Justice is the topic for episode five, which imposes a personal responsibility to work with others to design and continually perfect our institutions as tools for personal and social development. This episode is designed to discuss how initiatives and movements come from groups and communities, not just one person, allow for discussions on power, and ways to oppose injustice when it is at the hands of the powerful.
“Working with the CMC team to build this curriculum was such a great opportunity. These are important topics and I hope this program helps youth build confidence and form a comfortability around discussing these issues,” says DIVE member, Briana Calderon.
TYS’s mission is to help children and families create a better future and creating a space for youth to discuss DIVES topics, allows our youth the opportunity to let their voice be heard. When youth feel heard, they learn that their voice matters. To learn more about this program, contact (909) 426-0773 ext. 234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Isabel Millward-Pena, Communications Specialist
Isabel contributes content for our social media, blog, newsletters and promotional materials. She recently earned a bachelor’s degree in English from California State University San Bernardino and is currently working on her master’s degree. Isabel began working at Trinity as an intern, was hired as clerical, and was then promoted to communications in our development department. Prior to her work at Trinity, she was a substitute instructional aid and a supervisor at Starbucks. She has also volunteered as an aid at local elementary schools and notably achieved “Partner of the Quarter” at Starbucks in 2017. Isabel is an active member of Trinity’s Diversity, Inclusion, Value and Equity (DIVE) team and volunteers her time at the Children’s Foundation of America.