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Empowering Communities through Culture-centered, Trauma-informed Care: A Vision for CRESTSprogram

Updated: Jun 26

In an ever-changing world, the need for culture-centered counseling has never been more critical. As a counselor educator and advocate, I am passionate about fostering environments where minoritized youth feel understood, valued, and supported. It is this passion that drives the mission of the CRESTSprogram team – to create spaces where cultural competence and social justice intersect to empower marginalized communities.

Understanding CRESTSprogram: Our Mission and Vision

CRESTSprogram (Culturally Responsive Evidence-based Strategies for Traumatic Stress) is more than an initiative; it is a movement towards more effective services for Black youth and other children of color. Our mission is to equip parents and professionals with the skills and knowledge needed to address the unique needs of diverse populations, particularly those from historically marginalized communities.

At CRESTSprogram, we believe that culture-centered, trauma-informed care is essential for effective service delivery. Our vision is to see a world where all individuals receive support that respects their cultural backgrounds and personal experiences. By integrating cultural competence into service delivery, we aim to reduce disparities and promote emotional well-being across all communities.

The Importance of Culture-centered, Trauma-informed Care

Culture-centered, trauma-informed care is not just about awareness but about action. It involves recognizing and addressing the cultural factors influencing children’s mental health and emotional well-being. This includes understanding the impact of systemic issues such as racism, poverty, and discrimination, which disproportionately affect marginalized communities.

For instance, African American communities often face unique challenges due to historical and ongoing systemic racism. These experiences can lead to mistrust in education, mental health, and social services, which are often seen as part of the system that perpetuates their struggles. As professionals, we must bridge this gap by creating safe spaces where children feel seen and heard.

Training and Services Offered by CRESTSprogram

CRESTSprogram provides comprehensive training and resources for professionals to decolonize their formal training to enhance their effectiveness and cultural competence. Our workshops, seminars, and credentialling programs are designed to enhance professionals abilities to:

  1. Recognize Cultural Biases: Understanding one's own cultural biases and how they impact the service delivery process is the first step toward cultural responsiveness. We provide tools and reflective practices to help professionals and caregivers become aware of and address their biases.

  2. DevelopCulture-centered Skills: Effective service delivery requires specific skills to navigate cultural differences. Our training covers techniques for building trust, effective communication, and culturally appropriate intervention strategies.

  3. Advocate for Social Justice: Service delivery is inherently linked to advocacy. We train professionals to support children and families in advocating for systemic changes that promote transformative justice.

  4. Engage in Lifelong Learning: Cultural competence is an ongoing journey. Our program emphasizes the importance of continual education and staying informed about the evolving cultural dynamics within communities.

Success Stories: Impact of CRESTSprogram

The impact of the CRESTSprogram is evident in the success stories of professionals and parents alike. One such story is that of a counselor who, after completing our training, felt more equipped to support an LGBTQ+ client navigating the complexities of their identity within a conservative community. The counselor's newfound skills in cultural responsiveness allowed them to provide empathetic and effective support, leading to significant progress in the client's mental health journey.

Another inspiring story comes from a community outreach project where CRESTSprogram-trained staff members collaborated with local leaders to provide education and services to a low-income community. The project strengthened the community's resilience and sense of belonging.

Join Us in Making a Difference

At CRESTSprogram, we are committed to making a difference one professional, one child, and one community at a time. We invite you to join us in this mission. Whether you are a professional seeking to enhance your skills or a parent passionate about promoting systemic change, there is a place for you in the CRESTSprogram community.

Together, we can build a future where every child receives the care they deserve. Let us continue to strive for a world where all children are celebrated and every voice is heard.

Helpful Resources:

Concept Papers

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