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Coming Together Across Cultures: Intentional Relationship Building


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This presentation was delivered on Tuesday, July 26, 2011, as part of the free monthly webinar series from Friends for Youth's Mentoring Institute.

The notion of cultural competency elicits deep emotions for most people and carries tremendous weight in a professional setting. Those who work with a diverse group of clients and program participants want to be more skillful in their relationships but many workshops offer little beyond tips for generalized cultural populations (“Making eye contact is disrespectful”) or suggestions to create materials in multiple languages. While these steps are necessary in developing cultural competence, this webinar will address how to go deeper into exploring personal cultural values and how to use them intentionally and skillfully in building adult-youth relationships using examples from our own mentoring program.

Using technology, participants will come together in a safe space to share, listen, support challenges, and learn from each other, while also learning about skills in the area of relationship building, focusing on youth-adult partnerships. Materials will be available at the end of the webinar to encourage further discussion within agencies to create their own effective cross-cultural communication strategies based on real-life professional scenarios. This webinar is hosted by Sarah Kremer, Program Director of Friends for Youth’s Mentoring Institute and will be joined by Maribel Zarate, Program Coordinator in Friends for Youth’s mentoring program.

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Coming Together Across Cultures: Intentional Relationship Building

  1. 1. Coming Together Across Cultures: Intentional Relationship Transforming lives through   the power of mentoring  BuildingFriends for Youth’s Mentoring Institute July 2011 Webinar
  2. 2. •  All attendees muted for best sound•  Type questions and comments in the question box; responses will either be direct to you or shared with all attendees•  “Raise your hand” to be unmuted at end to ask question live during webinar •  Works best for telephone or headset-to-computer connections •  Please monitor background noise
  3. 3. Link to slides and recording of webinar will be posted to h5p://  Resource links and brief survey included in follow‐up email 
  4. 4. Goals•  Highlight activities from in-person training•  Provide resources for own trainings or workshops•  Contribute to ongoing discussion on intersection of culture and youth mentoring
  5. 5. In-Person Training Agenda•  Start Where You Are•  Personal –  Creating the Foundation –  Self Awareness –  Change –  Connecting with Others –  Intentional Relationship Building•  Professional•  Nurturing Seeds of Diversity
  6. 6. Two Truths and A Lie, Cultural Version •  Name  •  Agency  •  Two Truths  •  One Lie 
  8. 8. ACTIVITYExpress thoughts/feelings that arise around: culture, cultural diversity, multiculturalism, cultural competency NEGATIVE  POSITIVE Two people will read aloud all POSITIVE papers and all NEGATIVE papers
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  10. 10. •  Same-race matches have not “received consistent support from studies to date” and results are mixed•  “Similarity in experiences and interests may be an equally or even more important matching criteria”•  In naturally occurring mentoring relationships with urban, Latino, and African American youth, most mentors are same race/ethnicity•  But most racial minority youth are matched with White mentors in formal programs•  Factors to consider: Stereotype threats, cultural values (collectivism vs. individualism) Sanchez & Colón, 2005
  11. 11. •  Evidence “overwhelmingly in support of ‘no more than skin-deep’ hypothesis” Haddad, Chen, Greenberger, 2011•  “It matters when it matters.”•  Matching by demographic similarities under some conditions: when it is important to youth –  Relevant to where they are –  Important to identity •  Working out cultural identity •  Taking pride in cultural identity Powers, 2011
  12. 12. •  Quantitative study: potential effects of social class differences•  Factors make a difference –  Amount of time in relationship –  Level of trust•  Same race matching –  Good for general support and assistance –  May matter in early phases•  Distinctly different matching –  Good for expanding social network, knowledge, opportunities –  Does not have negative impact in long term –  Social class differences have no significant effect Gaddis, 2011
  13. 13. •  Consider role of race/ethnicity/culture•  Do not match pairs on race/ethnicity only•  Use assessments of cultural factors to target support•  Provide cultural competency training to mentors•  Utilize natural support systems for youth•  Consider developing culturally specific mentoring programs Sanchez & Colón, 2005
  14. 14. •  “…Need to be flexible and listen more closely to experiences of indigenous peoples and diverse populations to ensure programming is responsive to their unique needs.” Marshall & Shaver, 2010
  15. 15. Advantages of same-race matches•  Potential to create clear pictures of positive values and role behaviors•  Offer a built-in “comfort zone” that facilitates the relationship’s development•  Mentees and their parents/guardians preferAdvantages of cross-race matches•  Opportunity to expand world views and to break down stigmas and prejudices•  Matching youth right away vs. waiting for specific matchAsk mentors, mentees and parents:•  “Would you feel comfortable with someone who is of different race/ethnicity than you?” North & Sherk, 2000
  16. 16. GENDER•  Most programs don’t cross-gender matchLANGUAGE•  Most program match entors and mentees who speak the same languageGEOGRAPHIC PROXIMITY•  Ensure they live close enough to allow frequent contactMUTUAL INTERESTS•  When possible, match by interest“CHEMISTRY”•  Program staff – as catalyst – get to know personalities involvedENVIRONMENT•  Every match is between mentee’s “total environment” and mentor’s “total environment”•  family situation, living situation, work demands, neighborhood and community North & Sherk, 2000
  17. 17. Resources: Handouts•  NaGonal Center for Cultural Competence: Self‐Assessment Checklist for Personnel  Providing Services and Supports to Children with DisabiliGes & Special Health Needs  and their Families •  Language and Culture Worldwide: The Cultural Iceberg •  Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota: Tools for Mentoring Adolescents, #7: The  Influence of Culture on the Mentoring RelaGonship  hWp://‐7Culture2.pdf  •  Teaching Tolerance: Test Yourself for Hidden Bias, What’s A Teacher To Do?, Mutual  Learning through ConversaGon •  WorldBridges: EnCountering Stereotypes h5p://world‐  •  Friends for Youth’s Mentoring InsGtute: Mentoring Journal MulGple IdenGGes  acGvity h5p://  •  American Speech‐Language‐Hearing AssociaGon: Cultural Competence Checklist  Policies and Procedures •  US Dept HHS: Achieving Cultural Competence: Guidebook for Providers of Services  to Oder Americans and their Families  
  18. 18. Resources: Research & Practice•  Barajas, J. (2005) Mentoring Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth. Center  for Applied Research SoluGons.  hWp:// •  Gaddis, S.M. (2011). Whats in a Rela7onship? An Examina7on of Social Capital,  Race, and Class in Mentoring Rela7onships. UNC at Chapel Hill. •  Haddad, E., Chen, C., & Greenberger, E. (2011). The Role of Important Non‐Parental  Adults (VIPs) in the Lives of Older Adolescents: A Comparison of Three Ethnic Groups.  Journal of Youth Adolescence. 40:310‐319. •  Jucovy, L. (2002) Same‐Race and Cross‐Race Matching (Technical Assistance Packet  #7) Public/Private Ventures and Northwest Regional EducaGonal Laboratory/ NaGonal Mentoring Center. •  Marshall, D. & Shaver, K. (2010). Culture, Context, and Innova7on: A Kiwi Canuck  Perspec7ve. In Karcher, M. & Nakkula, M. (Eds.) New DirecGons for Youth  Development: Theory, PracGce, Research. San Francisco: Jossey‐Bass. •  North, D. & Sherk, J.(2000) CreaGng and Sustaining A Winning Match. Center for  Applied Research SoluGons.   hWp://  •  Sanchez, B & Colon, Y. (2005). Race, Ethnicity, and Culture in Mentoring  Rela7onships. In DuBois, D. & Karcher, M. (Eds.) Handbook on Youth Mentoring.  Thousand Oaks: Sage PublicaGons. 
  19. 19. Thank you!Link to slides and recording of webinar will be posted to h5p://  Resource links and brief survey included in follow‐up email 
  20. 20.  650‐559‐0200 105093182858863