A brief few words, as this website is in early stages of development – and yet, now almost 74 years old, I have insights to offer, after multiple experiences navigating informally, being taught by many different groups in my lifetime, including other cultures, like British, French Canadian and Irish in Canada.
I moved alone to the USA after college (McGill) and supported myself in an early career in business management, then volunteer work mental health and intensive work in substance abuse treatment led to me to leave the business world to work in community supports, then later work with elders in health care.
My exposure to African American culture came after 10 years of living in the Boston area (obeying the instructions taught to all white arrivals, to avoid the “danger areas”, translate Black, of course.)
But my eyes and heart were opened in new ways after I happened to drive a city school bus during desegregation. I learned from experiences and from witnessing the Black children I drove to and from Black neighborhoods. I later sought occasions to study and sing with adults, seeking more involvement for its own sake and more information and understanding about resources of this underestimated culture, often appropriated, not recognized.
I took courses, enrolling in Lesley University to study Intercultural Relations, and studied about world history, economic relations, cultural world views, styles, ways to cope with cultural changes. I focused on community based cultures, like Japan, and worked for 3 years in a Japanese company brought to the USA to teach children with Autism without medications, restraints, etc: Daily Life Therapy.
I learned of challenges in service planning and delivery systems when I helped my youngest brother, born with Brain Injury, make a transition from home, then survive in adult life. When I gradually learned of the evolving and changing tasks this guidance required, I read parenting books and sought others to join me in supporting his involvement in community.
He missed a country life, so I found programs and homes for him in rural inland Maine, working to supplement, not leaving him completely to the uniform and heavy handed care of instititutions designated to supervise, coach or care, or to the medications they so often recommend.
Through ups and downs, he did manage to survive and grow safely through adult life, despite disabilities of Brain Injury.