On January 10, 2022, Penny Lane Centers embarked on a new journey. This was a journey of self- discovery, personal and professional growth, and empathy through the understanding of the lived experience of others. This was Diversity Beyond the Basics (DBB).
The DBB curriculum was 2 years in the making. We began with a program originally created by the University of Southern California (USC.) We utilized the USC curriculum and made it our own. We infused it with the Penny Lane values and our heart-centered culture in order to make it a program that Penny Lane would be proud to share with the staff and eventually the community.
The course was broken up into 10 sessions with topics such as target and agent, privilege, gender, and sexuality, microaggressions and race versus ethnicity, to name a few. Once ready, we rolled it out to our staff and the first of 19 cohorts began the program on January 10, 2022. During the initial session we conducted a pre knowledge self-assessment questionnaire. The purpose was for the facilitators to understand the baseline from which they were working. The pre knowledge self-assessment questionnaire would show us the participant’s general understanding on a variety of issues as well which areas to focus on. Sessions were conducted every other week for several weeks and concluded in July.
During the week of July 11th, the cohorts met for the last time and again we asked them for their input. This time we asked all participants to complete the post knowledge self-assessment questionnaire. The post knowledge self-assessment questionnaire was identical to the pre questionnaire conducted in January. Our Innovations and Outcomes department was then able to utilize each matched pair (the pre in January and the post in July) to help determine the effectiveness of the DBB course.
Now that you have seen some of the data, we would like to share some comments from our participants.
“I continue to keep an open mind about everyone’s outlook and do not make quick judgments. ”
“I have become aware of my own biases, and less likely to make assumptions, based on my perceptions.”
“I have been more mindful of cultural issues that come up in session and feel more comfortable holding space for my client to process feelings related to this topic. ”
“I have become more open to talking about issues related to culture/gender/race in the work place and have gained a new lens to see things through. ”
“I am more curious about the stories that my colleagues may have about their backgrounds and personal lives. I try not to pass judgment before I understand where people are coming from.”
DBB was an idea born from the Racial Justice Committee. That idea has since led to action and change, which has had a significant impact on the culture of Penny Lane. That idea will continue to grow until we can reach our clients and community. The data derived from our idea has shown us just how effective we can be when we work together to build understanding around racial and social justice issues. The data has validated the efforts of all involved in bringing DBB to Penny Lane.
Penny Lane intends to roll out the DBB curriculum to our clients and to our community. We recognize the importance of sharing this with others in order to increase awareness on these issues. It’s not enough to talk about it, we need to take action to ensure that the message is being sent and received. As a result of DBB many of our staff share increased awareness and understanding. The staff is more cognizant of the culture of others, the challenges as a result, and how to listen and not assume.
On July 19th Round Two of DBB began with two additional cohorts. We look forward to another journey as we continue to work to enhance the understanding of all of our lived experiences.
Join Us September 21st!! Penny Lane Centers proudly presents Rise Up: A Racial Justice Conference. This is a one day event to build awareness and enhance understanding around social and racial justice issues. Racial inequality has been woven into the fabric of our society, but that does not make it okay. At Penny Lane we are working daily to bring awareness and attention to the issues that continue to negatively impact the BIPOC community. Societal ideas about racial equity must be addressed and must be changed in order for there to be true equity. Through our one-day conference, it is our hope that you will learn something new, be moved and called to action to be part of the positive change that is needed. It is our hope that you too will Rise Up.