Teen Challenge – Respecting Diversity and Inclusion

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

Parents and Teachers: Did you touch base with that teen in your life this week?

Teens: Did you touch base with the adults in your life? Let them know what is happening with you? I bet they would love it if you did.

February is Black History Month

With February being Black History Month, I’ll be focusing this month’s posts towards people and events that have shaped our country’s view of different races.

With our country struggling with racial relations, I will be forcusing on the teen challenge of accepting diversity and inclusion of others who are different from ourselves.

Respecting Diversity and Inclusion

When it comes to diversity and inclusion, here are the definitions,

Diversity

Diversity is understanding that there are differences between people. Not only racial differences, but differences in culture, religion, sexual orientation, where you live and how much monry your may make.

Inclusion

Is accepting and including people who are different from ourselves and including them in what we are doing as equal partners.

This quote from Verna Myers, a Diversity and Inclusion Expert explains the relationship between these two ideas.

While we are able to see and understand that there are differences between us and others, do we make a point to include those who are different from us? Or,

  • Do we shun them?
  • Bully them?
  • Treat them differently because they are different from us?

The fact that we have historically treated people differently from ourselves has gotten us to the place we are now. Unable to get along with people who may be different from us. The Respect Diversity Foundation has programs they offer for kids and teens to teach us about diversity and inclusion.

Respect Diversity Foundation

This foundation is located in Edmond, Oklahoma. Its mission is to promote tolerance and acceptance across differences through communication, education, collaboration and the arts. They offer a program to educate kids and teens called “Different & The Same.”

“Different & The Same”

This is an engaging diversity program the foundation created to meet a need to educate kids and teens about diversity. They take this program to the schools and educate not only the kids and teens, but also the teachers and community.

Through this program, teens became kinder and more compassionate towards people. Some even became activists and advocates for diversity and inclusion with other people. This is the kind of grass root level teaching that needs to be done to help heal our country.

Here is a link to more information about the Respect Diversity Foundation and to the “Different & The Same” program.

There is another program out there to teach us about how to bring the ideas of diversity and inclusion into the workplace and other organizations. This college program is offered at Villanova University and other colleges throughout our nation. It would be something to consider if our teens are looking for a way to learn more about diversity and inclusion and become an advocate in companies and organizations they are involved in as adults.

Diversity and Inclusion – A graduation certificate program

Villanova University, located in Villanova, PA offers a certificate program called the Inclusion and Diversity strategy. It is the study of effectiveness of inclusion and diversity initiatives in organizations and other places in their lives. It is a part of the Human Resources course of study and is becoming a popular course of study to understand diversity and inclusion and actively improving those relationships in workplaces, organizations and other parts of our lives and society.

With our country struggling with racial relations, understanding diversity and activating ways of inclusion are important pieces to healing our country and improving how we are relating to one another. Here is a link to more information about the Inclusion and Diversity Strategy Certificate offered at Villanova University.

The Hard Way incorporates diversity

When my editor Michelle and I worked through revisions of The Hard Way, we have charcaters of different racial backgrounds interacting in the story. Not only to show what racial makup would typically be found in a burough of a city like New York City (which Manor City is loosely based on), but to show that characters of different backgrounds could come together as friends. Learn more about the book on the books tab of my website. Here’s the link

The Hard Way

What can we do?

Find out how the teens in our lifes feel about diversity and inclusion of others. Teach them with the programs that are available at places like Respect Diversity Foundation. This will go far to change the current views and to start adopting the ideas of diversity and inclusion in our society. What experiences have you faced with Diversity and Inclusion of yourself or others? Please let me know in the comments below.

PS – Something to check out!

Boys Town talks about Diversity this week

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about Boys Town as a Teen Resource because of their programs and how they advocate for teens. Here is a link to my blog post.

This week on Wednesday, February 10th at 12:00 PM CST, Boys Town will be hosting a Facebook Live event, The History of DIversity at Boys Town. Diversity is a foundational part of their organization. The founder of the organization, Father Flanagan began providing care for children regardless of race, religion or ethnicity. Be sure to stop by their Facebook Page on Wednesday to check it out. Boys Town – Facebook

Have a great week!

Teen Resource – Boys Town

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

Hope you had a good week. Check in with the teen in your life? What did they have to share? Hey teens, did you check in with the adult in your life? Share something with them about what you are thinking about? They would love it if you did!

New Subject – Teen Resource

I wanted to add a new subject to my blog to showcase people and organizations that are out there helping teens and families. I plan to showcase a different one each month. So, we’ll start things off in January with a look at Boys Town, an advocate for teens and families located in Boys Town, NE.

How did I learn about Boys Town?

I was in our kitchen looking the calendar hanging on the wall. We received it in the mail and use it to keep track of important family events. This one is from Boys Town and states 100 years of saving children and healing families. So I went online to find out a little bit more about them.

What they do at Boys Town?

The organization was started by Father Edward Joseph Flanagan in 1917. He developed a lifelong interest in young people and the struggles they face growing into responsible adults while he was ministering to the homeless in Omaha, Nebraska.

Accoring to their website, boystown.org, is a beacon of hope for America’s children and families through life-changing youth care and health care programs across the United States.

Along with the youth care and health care services that Boys Town provides, they are also recognized internationally as a research leader in hearing, language and related communication disorders, and childhood neurobehavioral disorders. Their findings are integrated into the treatment of the children and families that they serve.

Anoother thing I noticed is that they are an advocate for teens. One way is through their views on the Juvenile Justice System. Another is through their programs helping teens to make changes to their lives and help them succeed.

Advocate for Juvenile Justice Reform

I read a couple of books lately talking about inequities in the current justice system and treament of juveniles who have been incarcerated. One of them, Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson is a true story about his experiences as a black lawyer and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). EJI is a non-profit law firm who helps people who cannot afford or are unable to fight for their rights. Stevenson tells the story of three different teenagers who committed crimes and were given much stronger sentences that would impact the rest of their lives. EJI looked into the circumstances involved in these cases and through the courts, were able to get the sentences reduced.

Boys Town takes the approach of rehabilatation and redemption rather than punishment and incarceration and advocate for fair treatment and practices of teens if they enter the juvenile justice system. like EJI, they want to give these teens a chance to change the course of their lives despite a bad choice they made to get into trouble.

Advocate for teens to change their lives

Boys Town helping teens and families to get the assistance that they need to reach their full potential. They provide a residental program for teens in need of a second chance.

In the Who we Help section of their website, Boys Town describes the teens that they serve.

“We don’t don’t give up on kids and are committed to helping those who have failed in other systems… We give them the secnd chances they deserve.”

One of the posts on their Facebook Page features a video about a teen named Kahla. She came from an abusive situaton before she came to Boys Town. She is thriving now because of their residental program. In her video testimonial she says,

“Change myself for something better.”

There are many more testimonials of how Boys Town has helped people succeed. You will also find these on the Who we Help Section of their website and on their Facebook and Instragram profiles.

Check out Boys Town

Boys Town is an organization available to help teens and families in need. Not only are they actively participating in their lives, but they are also conducting research into areas to help improve the treatment they provide to their clients.

With their focus on advocating for Juvenile Justce reform and providing teens with opportunities to make a better life for themselves, I believe Boys Town would be a good teen resource for them and their families to look into.

Here is a link to their website: Boys Town

Teen read about Peer Pressure

Another good resource for teens would be my young adult novel which focuses on that very topic. The Hard Way is a story about how fifteen-year-old Paul navigates being put into a position by his friends to make a choice between doing something right or doing something wrong.

Here’s a link to The Hard Way on the books tab of my website.

The Hard Way

Please forward this information to someone who may be looking for a good teen/young adult read. If you subscribe to my email list, you’ll be able to follow my writing journey and receive a free copy of chapter one.

Have a great week!