Part of working with diverse populations is being mindful of one own’s upbringing.
Context: I was brought up in a suburban city not far from Toronto with a population of over 50,000 people. I was not use to hearing news from my neighbours nor was it an expectation to seek good or bad news from my fellow neighbours. Actually, lets be real, I would say I would not even know the person living in the house across from me.
Living and working in a small community in the north for the last year and a half, I learnt quick the domino effect good and bad news can have on not just one community but spilling over to other communities.
How does this effect the way we work ? How does this effect the way we do preventative work?
Earlier this week, there were some tragic deaths (some by suicide) and violence in one community. Although I did not work in that specific community, I felt it was important to bring awareness of what happened to the older students in my community. I do not think it is gossip because I searched for my facts; however, my intentions was to remind students that we are united as one, to think of our fellow neighbouring community, and to continue to express our pain to someone and not keep it in.
I felt a wave of emotions hit me after I went to see all the secondary classes. I felt heaviness in my chest and a hot wave move across my face. I never felt these intense emotions before when I use to hear these type of events when I was working and living in bigger regions.
As I reflect- I realize the real humanity that exists when living and working in a smaller community. The connection that you feel is much more deeper: as a frontline in a smaller community you no longer just have to “manage” or “deal” with these situations but you now live these events with the rest of the community.
This is when I begin to remind and check-in with myself and other frontliners more about self-care and the importance of debriefing.
Love and Peace