At Children’s Friend, the recent injustices and anti-racism protests spurred a series of scheduled staff conversation circles. This is a time for staff to share their experiences and perspectives on racism, the current climate of our personal and professional communities, and the relationship of COVID with social injustices.
So far, we have met eight times. We start the conversations with each person sharing one word describing how they are feeling in that moment. Some of these words include: frustrated, vulnerable, confused, enlightened, tired, excited, mad, surprised, angry, grateful, worried, and hopeful. I am incredibly thankful to all who have participated. This time together is giving us a moment to breathe and understand where each of us is at in this moment before we take our next step towards becoming an anti-racist organization.
By no means should these sessions be misconstrued as a time to stall. In fact, these conversations are quite the opposite. Children’s Friend is known as the innovative leader in improving the well-being and healthy development of the states’ most vulnerable young children. Our staff’s perspectives, experiences, and thoughts are an important start to the agency’s next steps. Innovation starts with the idea of a problem. Where better to start than with staff and the entire Children’s Friend community?
We recognize that we have a responsibility to reach into our wheelhouse and utilize this precious early childhood window of time as an opportunity to influence positive change. Just as children grow, we, too, are always growing. We are learning how to battle injustices through the programs and the passions of the people who work at Children’s Friend.
This is why today, my word is ‘hope’.
Rebecca Paquette, Chief of Talent