An Innovative Approach to Growing Community
There is no way to learn and understand better than first-hand experience. In today’s episode, Katie talks to Barbara Lee VanHorssen of The Momentum Center for Social Engagement about their innovative approach to teaching cultural awareness and DEI through immersive experiences. From a Civil Rights Road Trip to Cultural Immersion Experiences that take participants across the boundaries of their understanding and geographic location.
Leave Your Lens
We all have a lens through which we see and experience the world around us. This lens is based on our past experiences and what we experience in our communities, culture, and networks. When we step outside of those areas of familiarity, we can see the world through someone else’s lens. Barbara’s organization builds awareness, understanding, and community by creating experiences that help participants leave their lenses behind. In this episode, she discusses a Civil Rights Roadtrip that ventures to the southern United States along the path and sites of the Underground Railroad. She also shares about trips to foreign countries where travelers are immersed in different cultures and traditions.
The Momentum Center for Social Engagement programs is innovating how we pursue DEI understanding and education. While many organizations use curriculum, consultants, and other methods to build community, Babara takes an experiential approach.
Growing Community is About Intentionality
Barbara’s programs center on an intent to explore and understand the world around us and help people appreciate and value diversity. Katie and Barbara discuss the challenge many nonprofit boards face with building diversity at the governance level in homogenous communities. While many say that your board should reflect the community you serve, Barbara takes it a step further, reminding us that if we’re not going to be proactive about pursuing diversity, we won’t create it.
More information about the Civil Rights Roadtrips and Cultural Immersion Experiences of the Momentum Center for Social Engagement can be found here or on their Facebook Page. Follow Barbara Lee VanHorssen on Linkedin to keep up with the innovative ways she’s changing the nonprofit sector.
Barbara Lee VanHorssen is the founder and Experi-Mentor of the Momentum Center, a grassroots movement to create a stigma-free community. She is an ordained interfaith minister and holds an MBA in Leadership Studies.
Barbara has worked with and for marginalized and disenfranchised people for most of her life. She is working to create a more understanding world for those with mental illness and developmental disabilities.