Tips for Empowerment FINANCIAL TIPS SELF-SUFFICIENCY LIFESKILLS The right choices today will help you achieve important Self-employment is definitely an option for greater self- self-sufficiency milestones later on like purchasing a car, sufficiency. Starting your own business is do-able and we renting or buying a home, or getting hired into certain jobs can help support you along that path. In addition, bartering or professions. Financial independence is a journey and with other positive women with children can increase your good credit makes the journey easier. Develop a reasonable resilience. Exchanging skills and mutually supporting others budget and stick to it. Credit cards are a fact of life and you know who need child care, household chores, meal they make everything easier — from buying books or preparations, shopping, respite, etc. Only barter and partner school supplies for kids to eating out. Using credit responsi- with others you trust to ensure the safety of your children bly is how to start building good credit. Stay on track with and loved ones and who can provide mutual support in your bills. Pay at least the minimum due on time every return. Mutually sharing each other’s loads can be very month. Don’t misuse credit, run up bills and not pay them. stress relieving and beneficial. Start building good credit today. To get a copy of your credit report call or visit the website of any of the three SELF-CARE TIPS national credit bureaus. Eating healthy, getting exercise, monitoring physical health, getting sufficient rest and experiencing simple Equifax Information Service Center pleasures in life like laughter, positive interpersonal rela- www.equifax.com 1-800-685-1111 tionships and self-soothing activities like quiet walks, lis- tening to music, reading, writing, etc. are basic founda- Experian Information Solutions, Inc. tions for good self-care. www.experian.com 1-888-397-3742 Trans Union Corporation SPIRITUAL TIPS www.tuc.com 1-800-888-4213 Prayer, fellowship and meditation are always powerful and effective sources for inner strength, regeneration, clarity, “Courtesy of Chase Manhattan Bank” and human connection to others and one’s higher power. Change Service Requested (510) 985-0500 Oakland, CA 94609 4236 Martin Luther King Jr. Way GOALS for Women Promoting culturally competent counseling, resilience and socioeconomic empowerment of Inner City Low-Income African American Women, Youth and Families. June 2005, Volume 1, Number 1 About Cultural Competence Respecting the Experiences, Traditions and Resilience of African American Inner City Communities By Gwen Wilson, MSW, Executive Director/Clinical Social Worker W hen I was a young girl, I’d sit in the midst of a neighborhood Bid Whist game and marvel at the ver- inner city communities of neighbors and extended families. From the perspective of a mental poverty, racism, classism, and sexism on our clients’ self-esteem and psy- chological well-being. It is being able bal volleyball of wit and rhyme called health service provider, an under- continued on page 7 “signifying” bouncing from player to standing of clients’ ethnic back- player. Everyone there knew it was a grounds and communication styles WHAT’S INSIDE time and place for laughter and parad- is an important component to ensur- ing one’s skill in both the card game ing the delivery of culturally compe- Language: What does “Baby and verbal interplay. My mother was tent and appropriate care. How else Daddy” Mean to You? 2 a champion of Bid Whist, a tradition does one become culturally compe- Caring for the Children 3 in African American culture for over tent with inner city African American 100 years, and her verbal ability clients if they’ve never had a personal AAWAEI Peer Counseling always led to a room full of people experience and opportunity to wit- Activities: An Evening with Toni Morrison 4 roaring with laughter. ness their unbridled strengths and These gatherings were more than talents via a Bid Whist game? What African American just communal past times. Neighbors is cultural competence for our con- Commitment Oath 4 and extended families sharing similar stituency at GOALS For Women and GOALS Counseling Services 5 life experiences and struggles came The African American Family Community Supporters 5 together to exchange stories in Counseling Center? between rounds of the game. For The skills for working with different Community Partners: some, these gatherings saw tensions cultures must be built by a contextual A Safe Place Domestic Violence Services 6 relieved through language play, par- understanding and appreciation for ody and other figurative forms of the cultural experiences and chal- Coping Skills 6 expression that evolved from African lenges of an ethnic minority group. The National Association myths and African American folklore. In the case of our core constituency of Social Workers I know now that observing Bid of no- and very-low income African Code of Ethics 7 Whist games is one way I developed American women and their children, Tips for Empowerment: a sense and appreciation for the the delivery of culturally competent Financial, Lifeskills, verbal traditions and significance care requires understanding the inter- Self-Care & Spiritual 8 of gestures among African American generational, and personal impacts of A NEWSLETTER BY G.O.A.L.S. FOR WOMEN & THE AFRICAN AMERICAN FAMILY COUNSELING CENTER 2 Urban Solace LANGUAGE ISSUES What Does “Baby Daddy” Mean to You? anguage barriers are frequently cited as a or more children. Some were divorced. Others L challenge for providing culturally compe- tent care. By misinterpreting the expres- sions used by a program participant or client, a social worker or therapist could had never been married. While this expression was cast in a positive light in a 2004 Hollywood movie about three single African American males whose girlfriends became pregnant, causing each offend a client, miss important verbal cues, or inter- parent-to-be to take responsibility and embrace vene inappropriately. If the service provider is not a fatherhood, for many of the African American native speaker of a client’s language, interpreting women surveyed, the term is negative and his or her needs will be challenging, if not impossi- describes an absent father who is not a supportive ble. Similarly, geography and socioeconomics play partner sharing the responsibility of raising a child. a significant role in shaping the meaning of words However, while the term was mostly a negative and expressions among African Americans. one, a couple of respondents found the expression GOALS’ staff recently polled, separately, 13 to be neutral or even somewhat positive. One African American women between the ages of thing is clear though. There is a lot of meaning 22 and 55 and of varying socioeconomic back- behind what may seem like a casual term. grounds to find out what the term “Baby Daddy” Here are the results, which have been edited meant to them. Many were single mothers of one lightly for clarity and to remove profanity. What does the term “Baby Daddy” mean to you? What does it mean to have one? “A [man] on the run!” “You’re doomed “I struggled with these two questions church or the state). It also connotes for life!” Right now, not good. Your because the questions are loaded. I that the union between the child’s child’s father. Means someone whose would preface by saying that I don’t parents no longer exists. “Baby supposed to help support you. I have judge, but that would be a lie. Instead, Daddy,” is used when the mother bad Baby daddies. I wish I didn’t have I offer you an opinion and maybe not doesn’t want to refer to her child’s one. We’d be better off if they weren’t popular. In an inner-circle of friends, father in more unflattering terms. involved at all and we just did it by “BD” may be acceptable, but in larger Personally, I do not like what it con- ourselves.” society, it is not. I guess I’m defensive notes in Society, which is often a about that phrase because Society has young black female (stereotyped), who ? ? ? “us” all figured out and there is more isn’t married, and not by choice but “A man that fathers a child, has a to young black women (and the old because she isn’t smart enough to baby with a girlfriend/wife and are ones) than the negative portrayal that marry him, but dumb enough to get no longer together or still together. we see or hear. Having illegitimate pregnant, yet borne a child without a It just simply means that you are not children is as old as time. To me, it is name, and then has the state pay for together with the man (boy) of your a negative term. Instead of using the the care. Generally, the father is absent child (children).” word “my husband,” or “my child’s from the child’s father” it suggests that the relationship life on an everyday basis. The mother ? ? ? between the child’s parents is not acknowledges that the child has a legally sanctioned under God (the father, but also insinuates that the Urban Solace 3 father has abandoned the family influence or support to the child, “Means a man who helped bring a structure, but more importantly, has but they take in the way of just being child in the world but that’s it!” abandoned his child and the responsi- called a parent, they take the title and bilities associated with parenting!” run with it (I mean literally run, like “It’s a term used by mostly single “A baby daddy means a man who out the door).” women who have had babies for just helps conceive my child but isn’t men and the men are not taking care ? ? ? around helping to raise my child of them. It’s a negative term to me. neither financially nor mentally” “It is a negative term when you are Someone could offend some folks not too fond of who he is or what he by using the term so it’s not to be ? ? ? is.” “Negative term. It’s specific when I taken lightly.” “The term ‘Baby Daddy’ means the use it because it’s referring to a specif- ? ? ? father of your child to whom you are ic person. Pretty much, it means you not married or have a decent relation- had a baby with someone you aren’t “It is an ethnic/ghetto colloquialism, ship with.” “The meaning of having particularly fond of.” slang term for my child’s father. I one to me is just someone who helps would not refer to my child’s father ? ? ? keeps a little food and some clothes as my baby’s daddy, except in jest. on the baby’s back and possibly what “It’s just the father of my kids.” “It’s The term is most often, but not always is left over, you get your nails done. not negative right now, it used to be. used to denote a father that is unin- It sounds to me like a ghetto term. It can be a negative depending on how volved in the rearing or financial You know, they met at a party or a people word it or use it. I think it is a support of their child. In my case it club and got drunk, started having sex generic term. It’s very important to have means to have an ex-husband and all the time and partying together and one, because we didn’t have one.” an ex-boyfriend who were very she ends up pregnant and he wants unsupportive during my pregnancy ? ? ? her to “get rid of it” and she doesn’t and miscarriage.” want to, so now he is obligated to “It just means a sperm donor, funny ? ? ? give her money for the baby’s tennis comical term used with my girls, shoes and sweat suits and her hair slang.” “In my case it’s a positive thing “It’s a totally ghetto way some people and nails. I know it sounds very judg- because he is an All American good use to describe absent fathers. I per- mental, but every girl that I know that guy. I just happened to be one of the sonally hate the term because it takes uses that term usually acts that way. lucky ones; he’s a good father. He’s away from the positive father’s who Now, the women who just say ‘my much more than my ‘babies daddy,’ are providing for/parenting their chil- child’s father’ are more sophisticated he’s my children’s father.” dren. It’s a self-put down word too and intelligent mentally and act like because the women who use the term ? ? ? they have some sense. Again, I know to describe their kids fathers and the it sounds unintelligent or judgmental “The term is negative. When I am fathers are still around in the woman’s but that is my opinion.” speaking of him in a positive way I life obviously don’t think much about refer to him by name. Headache and themselves or the man.” ? ? ? heartbreak. If I ever have another ? ? ? “A biological donor (negative, generic child, I know that I don’t want a term)” “Means to have a non-contribut- “babies daddy,” I want a husband.” ing parent, they don’t give any positive ? ? ? Caring for the Children Your children need to know they are important to you dren, and the way they respond in facial expression is very and an important part of the family. Children who don’t important. Closeness is the goal. receive care and nurturance end up feeling hopeless and Remember, positive interactions are important. These angry. Parents must be able to regulate their own emo- positive interactions help them develop a sense of tions and feelings in order to teach their children to do belonging, creativity, and spontaneity—these are impor- the same. This regulating lesson is called learning how to tant competencies. self-soothe. Showing slow gentle care in daily routines like Children want and need consistent responses from parents. hair grooming that ends with a kiss communi- A parent’s tone of voice, what they say about their chil- cates love and helps boost self-esteem. 4 Urban Solace AAWAEI PEER COUNSELING ACTIVITIES An Evening with Toni Morrison… By Michelle Graham, AAWEI Case Manager T oni Morrison is one of the world’s greatest writers and her public lectures are rare and described Toni Morrison as “the last classic American writer, squarely in the tradition of Poe, Melville, Twain digest; whatever nugget of wisdom I could salvage from her discussion, if nothing more than the warm crackle cherished. Her accolades remain and Faulkner.” in her voice. I wanted to make sure I unprecedented; to name a few; she A collaborative effort of various savored the moment and recognized is the winner of the Nobel Prize for departments within U. C. Davis afford- what an honor it was to be in the pres- Literature in 1993. Her eight major ed the faculty, students and communi- ence of such a literary giant and African novels – The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song ty a chance to spend “An Evening with American woman and elder. of Solomon, Tar Baby, Beloved, Toni Morrison”. Toni Morrison made it her business Jazz, Paradise, and Love – have all Those of us at GOALS who could not not to disappoint but graciously pre- received extensive critical acclaim secure tickets to the sold out event host- pared a feast for all who attended, while also achieving widespread ed on campus, at the Mondavi Center which is indicative of the substance that commercial success. A professor for Performing Arts on November 30th, makes her so great. I was impressed at at Princeton University since 1989, 2004 had the rare and fortunate oppor- how unselfishly Morrison engaged us Morrison has won every major tunity to take clients participating in our on every level regardless of our under- award in the literary world, includ- African American Women’s Access & standing. Morrison classically ushered ing the Pulitzer Prize for Beloved; Empowerment Initiative (AAWA&EI) us into to the space, time and storyline the National Book Critics Award peer activities to see Mrs. Morrison a bit of her novel, as though we were never for Song of Solomon; the National earlier at the roundtable discussion on lost. If nothing else we were bound to Humanities Medal; the Library of her novel, “LOVE”. walk away with the rich life lessons she Congress Bicentennial Living I must admit how inadequate I felt so naturally weaves throughout the fab- Legend Award; the National Book not having been polished for the event; ric of her existing masterpieces. I thor- Foundation Medal for Distinguished both intellectually and culturally. I oughly enjoyed myself and came away Contribution to American Letters; feared I could be slightly cheated of the feeling like I had grown a little more and the Distinguished Writer Award experience because I had not yet read that day, Clients who attended shared from the American Academy of this novel. Nevertheless, I made it my similar feelings of empowerment from Arts and Letters. Newsweek has objective to feast on anything I could the experience. African American Commitment Oath With honor, gratitude, humbleness and love, we take this oath of loyalty, dedication, discipline, sacrifice and achievement to do all that we can in the way that we can to develop and love ourselves and our people. We accept the role given to us by our ancestors. We promise not only to help ourselves and our people but to help all humanity. We recognize family as the greatest example of our community and our nation and appreciate our ancestors as teachers and healers. We pledge to keep this oath of commitment for as long as the sun shines and the rivers flow. Ashé, ashé, ashé! Urban Solace 5 G.O.A.L.S. For Women Counseling Services African American Women’s Empowerment Initiative African American Family Counseling Center OUR SERVICES Therapeutic and Peer Counseling Kitchen Table Group Counseling Face-to-face, telephone and family counseling plus Support groups, counseling and peer activities for stress man- on-going, easily accessible intensive mentoring and coach- agement, social and coping skills-building, symptom reduc- ing by African American and other women role models. tion and management, and interpersonal communication. Case Management/Peer Empowerment It Takes A Village (ITAV) Consciousness-Raising Activities/Mentoring and Coaching and Empowerment Mini-Workshop Referrals and linkages to community supports, life-skills Quarterly workshops to promote community bonding and building to help clients successfully navigate the community education. Workshops allow participants to experience environment, through mentoring, coaching and peer shared cultural and communal traditions and values. empowerment activities. Thanks Community for Your Support Urban Solace is published by G.O.A.L.S for Women & The African Alameda County Board of Michelle Brewer Sonya Tafoya American Family Counseling Center Supervisors Carolyn Sante Treina Fabré Alameda County Behavioral Executive Director/Editor/ Chantae Rochester Erica Sanker Clinical Social Worker Health Care Services Mrs. Talibah Roderick Fabré Gwen Wilson, MSW Alameda County Mecca Nelson Ora Dagley Consulting Clinical Supervisor Social Services Luna Calderon, LCSW Debra Goode Leslie McKinney The Bay Area Black Francies Berry Keiko Reems Consulting Clinical Supervisor United Fund Dakari Wickling, LCSW The California Endowment Carolyn Long Hilary and Tony Jackson Nancy Lee Clinical Counselor The California Wellness Peggy Presley Valda Donvener, MFTI Foundation Sandra Washington Christine Sculatti Intern The San Francisco Paula White Michael Dodsworth Constance Oliver, MFTI Foundation Crystal Edmond Edna Cabcabin Moran Accountant The Alameda County Samia Magbie Mahal Torres Nancy Lee Tobacco Coalition Janet Moody Robin Raveneaux Certified Public Accountant CSAT Team Jocelyn Guite Parental Stress Services Ravi Mohan California Chamber of Isha Askar friends: Consulting Operations Manager Commerce Karen Robin Ferguson Cynthia Perkins Shay Kaiser Permanente Contributing Writers Dorothy Williams Moana Costco Gwen Wilson, MSW Linda Dails Cheryl Christine Sculati Longs Drugs Lorraine Ms. Woode Michelle Graham, AAWEI Case Manager Michaels Arts and Crafts James Luna Calderon, LCSW Bola Cofield Staples Office Supplies Shawn Taylor Graphic Designer Iris Corrina McKesson Water Company Janet Stickmon Jeanette Madden Woody Carter Half-Priced Books Mario Miller (Maat) Printer Melanie Tervalon Hunza Graphics California Black Women’s Rajah Akbar Health Project Sandra Carr Programmer/Grant Writer Alice Davis Liberty Hill Foundation Colette Winlock Christine Sculati Terry Giovanni Lugo Hardware Patricia Rambo Web Master Lara Bice Mike Dodsworth ATA Services Tisha Kenny Maggie McCawley Board of Directors Hollywood Bed and Spring Sherry Wilson Pilar Gonzales Margo McDaniel, President Mft. Co Barbara Burrell Soroptomist International Maryetta Knox, Treasurer A Safe Place Luna Calderon of Oakland Gwen Wilson, Secretary Moskatels Stacey Lynch Sonya Tafoya Kenya Silver L.A. Shares Jann Murray Garcia DeLeon Hill G.O.A.LS. (Greater Options & Assistance Angel Kyodo Williams Margo McDaniel Hills Brothers for Lifelong Success!) Dorinda Wiseman Mary E. Knox Construction 6 Urban Solace COMMUNITY PARTNERS A Safe Place Domestic Violence Program and Services A Safe Place Domestic Violence program has a powerful and effective history in our community. Led by Executive Director Carolyn Russell, MSW, who has been with the agency for over 20 years, A Safe Place offers a 24-Hour Crisis Line — (510) 536-SAFE (7233) — and the following to our community. EMERGENCY SHELTER provide women the opportunity to connect with other Emergency shelter for battered women and their children women who have experienced relationship abuse. is provided via a residential shelter and motel program. Facilitated by a trained domestic violence counselor, Support services include case management, professional their support groups are free of charge and focus on counseling, legal, court, and social service advocacy, domestic violence. included CALWORKS services. Basic necessities include LATIN PROGRAM meals, clothing, toiletries, and referrals for assistance A Safe Place maintains staffing to provide services for with emergency medical needs. Spanish speaking battered women via their 24-hour crisis CHILDREN’S PROGRAM line and shelter program. A number of activities are provided for the children in COMMUNITY EDUCATION & OUTREACH residence at the shelter that parallel the intervention their 510-986-8600 mother receives. The services focus on creating a safe A Safe Place offers training for both male and female environment to process feelings, and includes counsel- professionals. In an effort to prevent domestic violence ing, play therapy, and other therapeutic support services. through education, we teach the community about issues COMMUNITY COUNSELING surrounding relationship abuse through workshops, train- 510-986-8600 ing sessions, and presentations. They offer training for A Safe Place offers community counseling for battered both male and female professionals who may interact with women and children in need of assessments and infor- survivors of violence at public and private agencies. Our mation about domestic violence. Their counselors offer goal is to reach the entire community through education. education about abuse, referrals to area resources, and TEEN VIOLENCE PREVENTION PROGRAM a chance to explore options and goals. All counseling 510-986-8600 services are free of charge. A Safe Place provides Dating Violence and Sexual SUPPORT GROUPS Harassment workshops to middle and high schools, as 510-986-8600 well as agencies serving young people. The workshops Support groups are offered for both shelter clients and alert teens to the dynamics of abusive relationships, and via the community counseling program. These groups empower them to make healthy relationship choices. For more information about any services or programs, please contact them at (510) 986-8600. Coping Skills I n general, coping involves creating I Learning effective communication I Maintaining employment and a a supportive and nurturing environ- skills meaningful day-to-day routine ment for oneself, developing skills for I Learning problem-solving skills I Participating in recovery/support interacting effectively with people, and I Developing a good support system groups (for substance use and maintaining a stable living and work- I Learning to take responsibility for mental health problems) ing situation. Good coping mecha- one’s actions and well-being I Practicing relaxation skills and nisms include: enjoying life. Urban Solace 7 Cultural Competence continued from page 1 to provide the necessary care that will and supports like kitchen table talks, assertiveness, self-respect, self-love foster healing, self-sufficiency, healthy It Takes A Village workshops, flexibili- and self-care – attributes they will parenting and happiness. ty in individual counseling session eventually extend to their children GOALS For Women and The African lengths, and easy accessibility to coun- and the greater community. And, to American Family Counseling Center selors for telephone booster sessions, maintain this place of empowerment, is one of the first mental health pro- mentoring and coaching, and an array we will continue to initiate and advo- grams in Alameda County specifically of peer empowerment activities. Our cate for policies directed at helping focused on the mental health needs providers and peer counselors extend improve their life circumstances, espe- of no- and very-low income African a heartfelt welcome to a client and her cially given the economic decline of American women and their families. children/family and guarantee support. their communities. We are an agency founded on the Our experienced, compassionate and When we think of cultural compe- principles of cultural competence talented African American and other tence at GOALS, we think of the and our strategies for intervention clinicians join together to employ a ability to understand, appreciate and and healing are rooted in our knowl- mix of culturally sensitive and appro- establish trust with clients who enter edge of African American history, folk- priate interventions blended with our program. We recognize and vali- lore, collectivism and spirituality as African traditions and teachings. date those who try to be the absolute important coping mechanisms. While The clients’ strengths are celebrated, best people and parents possible given we take into account the impacts of weaknesses diminished, and everyone the often traumatic circumstances of racism and oppression on the psycho- knows they’re in the right place for their lives and current emotional health logical and economic well-being of providing and receiving truly culturally challenges. We work thoroughly to African American families, we also competent care. determine the barriers keeping them embrace cultural traditions and tales GOALS For Women’s African from functioning effectively so we can of survival of the ancestors as key American Family Counseling Center provide the treatment (and/or access to sources of empowerment. is a place where women and families it) and supports they need to function Women who participate in our are encouraged to think about the well and achieve life long success. programs in Oakland proclaim their direction of their lives; particularly in When I think about cultural com- appreciation and pride of the Afrocen- terms of their own values and moral petence on a personal level, I am tric values and strengths, humanity, reasoning. Clients are nurtured and reminded about the importance of dignity and history as descendants of ultimately empowered to appreciate respecting the experiences, traditions African American people. Just like the themselves and others in their family and resilience of African American banter that dances between players of and community. They are supported inner city people and communities. Just a Bid Whist game, so does the hope, to develop the capacities they need to like those master players of bid whist I trust and spirit of a GOALS client who escape poverty and oppression. From used to witness as a child, clients also experiences the safety and serenity of this place of empowerment, we know have strengths, experiences, traditions our therapeutic milieu, interventions they will begin to practice self- and resilience that needs to be respect- ed and tapped into. My hope is that while we’re helping to improve their emotional health and develop self-suffi- The National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics ciency capacities, we’ll also be success- The National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics sets ethical ful in helping them understand who standards for the professional activities of social workers, defining cultur- they are as a people. Their journey in al competence as an understanding of “culture and its function in life didn’t just begin under their one human behavior and society, recognizing the strengths that exist in all roof alone – it began in a collective experience as African Americans. That cultures.” To be competent, “social workers should have a knowledge experience includes social wounding as base of their clients’ cultures and be able to demonstrate competence in a disenfranchised group of Americans. the provision of services that are sensitive to clients’ cultures and to dif- Social wounds require social healing. ferences among people and cultural groups. Social workers should And we let our clients know they have obtain education about and seek to understand the nature of social a whole lot of allies working to pro- diversity and oppression with respect to race, ethnicity, national vide the context and supports to origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, political ensure that social healing can belief, religion, and mental or physical disability.” take place – starting with access to culturally competent care.
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