The Foundation has put together a new program called Brave Conversations with Community Leaders to introduce adult friends of the Foundation from the West Chester area and Chester to one another for the purposes of discussing racial issues and expanding their understanding of different cultures and life experiences.
Beginning in July of 2020, ten Chester Black men and women and ten West Chester area White men and women met bi-weekly on a 1 hour 45-minute Zoom call facilitated by Ms. Launia Terry, a Diversity and Inclusion Human Resources professional. The program, called Brave Conversations with Community Leaders, seeks to give opportunities for men and women from both communities to get to know one another while discussing the issue of race, and sharing life experiences with the group. Participants were specifically chosen for their character and commitment, and based on their relationship with the Foundation. Some are parents of Chester Braves, or West Chester Guides; some are Camp Chaperones or Camp Dining Servers; others are Chester community partners; or “Champions of Hope” – sustaining donors, and still others are Social Workers/School Administrators at the Chester schools that work with the Foundation. Each of these brave men and women leads with love and genuinely seeks to grow and become an Agent of Change him/herself.
The first Conversation defined terms such as “Diversity”, “Equity”, “Inclusion” and “Belonging” and then gave everyone a chance to get to know one another through break out rooms. The second Conversation taught new terms such as “Bias”, “Stereotype”, “Prejudice” and “Discrimination” and asked participants to discuss their experiences with each in small break-out rooms. Sessions three through eight delved deeper into rich conversations that challenged tightly held ideas and inspired new understandings and beliefs.
Brave Conversations with Community Leaders continued with a new set of 20 adults in Cohort 2 which runs from November 2020 through February 2021. Cohort 3 is all set to begin on March 4 and will continue through June 10. It is the intention of the Foundation to continue to have cohorts begin every 16 weeks. Future topics will surely be challenging, but necessary. The diverse group has such great respect for one another, and an appreciation for mutual willingness to sacrifice time and become vulnerable in order to gain empathy and understanding. The hope is that this group would not simply be a group that talks about racism, but soon becomes a united group of action. Actionable items will be discussed in Reunion Conversations this spring.
The Andrew L. Hicks Jr. Foundation is proud to be offering a new series entitled Brave Conversations. These conversations are taking place among the youth of Chester and adult leaders from the West Chester and Chester communities. Brave Conversations is offered in three tiers to our youth (Warrior Guides, RISE and Launch students). These conversations are facilitated by the Chester Community Coalition. The Coalition provides trauma-informed support services to families directly affected by violence in the city of Chester. Their experienced counselors support local families with a focus on trauma-informed care. The fourth tier, Brave Conversations with Community Leaders, is facilitated by Launia Terry, an HR professional and is designed to provide a space for discussions about racism, build empathy and lead to action.
Brave Conversations for our Youth are our way of providing connection and a little fun in a time where physical distancing and virtual learning is making it hard for kids to stay kids. We desire to create a safe space for youth to explore fun, engaging activities that helps them think about who they are, who they desire to be, and develop some skills to help get there. We know that keeping up with our youth and keeping their attention can be quite the challenge, but our wellness experts are charged and ready to go with creative activities that are sure to help Chester children enjoy a break, while having a good time, socializing, and learning – all at the same time!
Ever notice how as our kids switch from youth to full blown teens, it can feel like there is a BIG piece that was missed? As they change from talking to parents, and now seeking out friends for advice, it can be quite the challenge to keep up, and even feel like we always know how to support them. As a part of the RISE programming for Chester 7th – 9th graders, we are interested in supporting them as they walk into the new found independence that is the land of the teens, while also being able to guide them towards developing a healthy toolbox of how to deal with things that come up. We plan to use a mix of activities, and create a safe talk space that allows these leaders on the rise to feel confident expressing themselves, and make connections with peers that are going through very similar things.
Chester 10th – 12th graders go through all kinds of stressors; some we hear about and some we don’t. Wouldn’t it be great if they had a place, they could go to let off some steam and connect with other teens – even in the virtual space? With Brave Conversations, we hope to help these high schoolers gain perspective and positive feedback from peers, practice healthy communication skills to help improve their mood, and learn practical coping tools that they will actually use! This Zoom group is designed to be relaxing, stress free and provide them with helpful tips to help Launch them into their next big thing!
If interested in learning more about any of these sessions or how to get you child involved please email our Executive Director Susanne Cianfaro at Susanne@ALHjr.org to learn more!
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19b-20