Lessons learned from a cultural humility training program for adult mentors.

Anderson, A. J., Riordan, A., Smith, L., Hillard, B., & Sánchez, B. (2022). Cultural humility training for mentors: Lessons learned and implications for youth programs. Journal of Youth Development, 17(3), 21–38. https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2022.1186

Summarized by Ariel Ervin

Notes of Interest: 

  • Research-to-practice partnerships (RPP) are a way for researchers and mentoring practitioners to approach problems within the youth development and mentoring fields.
  • There are finite cultural humility-related training resources for volunteer mentors that are rigorously evaluated.
  • This paper shares the lessons from an RPP that provides cultural humility training for adult mentors.
  • Lessons categorized by the five phases of the RPP:
    • Organizational Commitment to Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI)
    • Training Curriculum and Logistical Planning
    • “To Zoom or not to Zoom”
    • Facilitation of the Training
    • Post-Training and Need for Ongoing Support
  • Youth development programs need to provide integrated and comprehensive education/training.
  • Youth development programs must account for anti-racism and cultural humility at all levels of their organization.

Introduction (Reprinted from the Abstract)

The current paper presents lessons learned from a research-to-practice partnership between mentoring program practitioners and researchers that focused on the development and implementation of a cultural humility training for volunteer mentors. Using multiple data sources (e.g., training materials, field notes, mentor surveys), we present a description of the research-to-practice partnership and the Culturally Smart Relationships pilot training content. We generate practice-oriented lessons to inform future cultural humility training work with staff and volunteers in youth programs. Our lessons reflect recommendations that emerged from five project phases: (a) organizational commitment to justice, equity, diversity, inclusion; (b) training curriculum and logistical planning; (c) “To Zoom, or not to Zoom”; (d) facilitation of the training; and (e) post-training and ongoing support. The pilot training content and lessons learned have implications for youth programs by elucidating training as one component of a broader approach for equity in youth developmental program practice.

Implications (Reprinted from the Conclusion)

The purpose of this paper was to inform youth development program practice by providing an overview of the CSR training for volunteer mentors and lessons learned from a design focused RPP. Of the lessons presented here, the lessons about organizational commitment to JEDI through integrated strategies are foundational to implementing cultural humility training in youth programs. Namely, there are limitations to training volunteer populations, and training will not solve equity issues in youth programs. Although the current paper explicates the implementation of a one-time training for volunteer mentors to enhance cultural humility, we underscore the need for broader and integrated training and education in youth development programs (Kalinoski et al., 2013; Outley & Blyth, 2020; Sánchez et al., 2021). In conjunction with lessons focused on facilitation and logistical details, we emphasize the lessons that charge youth programs with the task of considering how training can be one component of a larger, organizationally backed training series that is inclusive of ongoing support for volunteers. Youth development programs must consider cultural humility and anti-racism at all levels of their organization as necessary conditions for critical mentoring to address structural issues at the root of youth inequity (Outley & Blyth, 2020; Weiston-Serdan, 2017). Cultural humility training for program adults reflects a singular but necessary component to addressing calls to anti-racist action in youth development.

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