I am thrilled to share with you the success of our pilot training for police and guides. Youth leaders developed the three-course training program with input from New Lens and our research. Read a testimonial from Brooke Travers, our youth coordinator: Tensions were high as we ran through the plan one more time before the Downtown Partnership Guides arrived at the office for the first day of pilot lessons for our Cultural Competency Training. This marked the culmination of many long hours of preparation: writing and re-writing drafts, demoing lessons in front of the group of 21 Youth Leaders, and experimenting with different strategies. Throughout this process, bolder youth leaders helped shyer members of the group learn public speaking skills and gain the confidence that is necessary to teach adults how to communicate with young people.
Adrian Hughes, the Youth Executive Leader in charge of the Cultural Competency Team, was nervous while he waited for Larry and Mariama, the youth leaders who would be teaching the class, to arrive. Adrian had just enough time to go over his opening remarks one last time before the guides arrived. Introductions were made and the lesson began. Larry introduced the training and handed the warm-up discussion over to Mariama. The transitions were seamless and the Guides became more and more engaged as the lesson went on, expressing their desire to build a bridge between themselves and the youth that they see on the streets every day. There were disgareements, as is natural for a discussion of this nature. The guides explained that they fear that some youth don’t want to “get it,” and that there should be respect on both sides of an adult-youth interaction.
Overall, the lesson was incredibly successful, both the Guides that participated and the Youth Leaders that led the lesson had a great time opening a dialogue that will hopefully be the beginning of a new understanding between teens and those adults who serve the city. The Guides were excited to come back on Wednesday for the next class and the Youth Leaders were ecstatic that they already seemed to be making the difference that they have been working so hard for.