Child abuse prevention leaders from across the state gathered in Macon on Feb. 28 for the semi-annual Prevent Child Abuse Georgia Directors’ meeting.
Held at the Methodist Home for Children & Youth, PCA Georgia sponsored training on Building a Culture of Belonging, delivered by The Code Group, based in Washington, D.C.
The two-part, interactive training focused on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Social Justice as well as Bias and Difficult Conversations.
According to PCA Georgia Executive Director Jennifer Stein, the training adds emphasis to PCA Georgia’s vision that all children and families thrive in safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments.
“By providing training around DEIA, PCA Georgia acknowledges discrimination and systemic inequities exist and that all children and families will not thrive until these issues are addressed, Stein said. “To positively change outcomes for children and families, our work must include dismantling barriers to equity, cultivating inclusivity, and promoting accessibility to critical resources and support. Equipping PCA Georgia staff and councils to use equity as a tool for prevention is essential in our mission to strengthen families.”
Stein opened the training using the metaphor of a tapestry to represent the blend of individual contributions necessary to create meaningful change in organizations and communities.
“A tapestry is a decorative cloth made up of many strands of thread. The threads are woven together into an artistic design. Each thread is akin to a person, and groups of similar threads are analogous to a culture,” Stein said. “The tapestry metaphor creates beautiful imagery that conveys how the individuality of every person and culture can come together harmoniously and unexpectedly. A spool of only one type of thread could not be woven into any type of image. Variation and intermingling are needed to create something beautiful.”
Chapter leaders participated fully as facilitators Chris Edmonds and Jessica Jones with The Code Group orchestrated the conversation around DEIA.
Lora Cooper serves as the executive director for Prevent Child Abuse Bulloch; it was Cooper’s first in-person meeting since 2020. She provided positive feedback from her perspective as a community prevention partner.
“I appreciated the safe space to share my struggles with micro-aggression, my confusion around the new use of pronouns, and simply being given the opportunity to share in a room full of people with different lived experiences without being silenced,” Cooper said. “I learned a great deal from the discussions since others shared their lived experiences too. There was a lot of laughter, understanding, and compassion which is so lacking in the world today.
She added the training will be helpful personally as she navigates relationships by keeping her mindful of the need for everyone to belong, feel heard, and welcome to have a seat at the table.
Stein and staff provided updates on PCA Georgia activities including 2022 highlights, communication initiatives, Find Help Georgia, Strengthening Families Georgia, the annual conferences, and communication and media initiatives.
For more information, visit PCAGeorgia.org.