Thursday, March 31, 2011

March 2011 Y's Words

On the last Wednesday of each month I have the privilege of entering the ywca building on Main street and working with a dedicated group of community volunteers and staff members at the monthly board meetings. At every one of these meetings, I sit across from a framed sign of the ywca mission which stares back at me with words of empowerment and of social justice. I try to soak up these words and apply them to our discussions and to the decisions we make during these meetings.

As board members for the ywca, we take an oath to uphold the ethical standards of “integrity, acceptance, non-violence, great care and confidentiality.” As the vice president of board development, it is my role to create opportunities for board members to think more deeply about their experiences with the ywca and how to apply this oath in meaningful ways for both the member and for the organization.

I know that when each and every one of us is asked what concepts from our oath means to them, it will be flavored with the spices of their own lives. When we are asked what something like “acceptance” means to us, a host of our own experiences will color our interpretation. In our board meetings, I try to provide opportunities for members to think about what our mission and our oath means from our individual points of view, share those views and hear how another person thinks and interprets them.

The art of listening to others is not an easy one when we find ourselves in conflict. The ywca mission which focuses on promoting social justice and empowering disenfranchised groups of people requires individuals to challenge their own biases and assumptions. Each month we set aside time to involve ourselves in hands-on ways that provide opportunity to uncover our deeply seeded biases.  I am honored to participate on a board that not only promotes this work with and for others, but is willing to do the hard work themselves.

Sarah Theberge, M.A.
VP of Board Development

No comments:

Post a Comment