I was a Senior Counselor for La Cima this summer at the Cispus Center in Randle, WA. That meant I led a group of 11 students aka “delegates” during a leadership camp for 130 students from Washington and Astoria, OR. I was lucky to get the opportunity to perform a closing speech for the delegates. What an incredible experience!
Excerpt from Generalist Social Work Practice with Families (Yanca S.J. and Johnson, L.C., 2008):
Probably, the area that is the greatest concern for ethnic groups, especially for first generation immigrants, is retention of their cultures. However, it is almost inevitable that some cultural influences will be diluted as their children are exposed to the dominant culture. In fact, this is often an area of great turmoil and conflict between earlier and later generations.
Many culturally diverse families have experienced prejudice, discrimination, and oppression both in their countries and here in the United States… Raising consciousness and awareness of these experiences allows families to decide which aspects of their culture will serve them best in this country. This is an empowering approach. In many respects, empowering the family as a system can lead to freeing it from cultural constrictions. It can empower them to make choices about a bicultural style that is in the best interests of the family as a whole as well as each member.
Verbally, the worker encourages everyone to tell their own stories and gives equal credibility to them.
The worker moves cultural influences from nonverbal to the verbal level, openly discussing cultural issues and concerns and raising the possibility of decision making and choice. As much as possible, he assists the family through mediation and negotiation in settling disagreements in an equitable manner that is free from power and control.
Most importantly, the worker is careful to model egalitarianism in his actions and relationships with families. He demonstrates the advantages of an egalitarian approach and points out the disadvantages of power imbalances and control. He discusses the larger social context in which the family finds itself and looks for ways to empower the family and its members to overcome negative aspects of that social context.