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What’s Culture Got to Do With It? Taking a Student Perspective Part 2

Thank you for coming back to continue our journey together!

In the last blog post, I left you with a cliffhanger in my journey about my lack of space to explore and learn about theories and perspectives in the classroom. You may have experienced or are experiencing something similar. I have talked to several people who have expressed similar frustration in my life, so know that you are not alone in your observations and feelings. If you are reading this blog, you have taken the courageous act of stepping out and doing your research to find resources and learning opportunities. That is commendable and exciting!

I learned about Dr. West-Olatunji’s work in the context of disaster mental health counseling. What inspired me most about my training was the attention to culture and trauma within the context of disaster mental health counseling. This was an approach that I wanted to learn more about, and not just in this one area. I wanted to learn more about integrating a culture-centered, trauma-informed approach in my academic classes, my work as a counselor, my role as a mother, and in my life to grow. It has always been a practice of mine to be a lifelong learner. There is so much to learn in this world. Thank you to neuroplasticity for our brains’ ability to continue to learn and grow throughout our lifetime. 

Now that I had found what I needed and knew what I wanted to learn more about, I took the next step. When I searched Dr. West-Olatunji’s name, I found academic papers that were great to read, and I have shared a few of my favorites below and CRESTSprograms. Exploring CRESTSprogram’s website and training was like finding a missing piece of a puzzle regarding learning. The focus was not on Eurocentric approaches, which I had received plenty of during school. Instead, I was exposed to a community of people on similar journeys to decolonize their thinking. It was a joy to be engaged in the free monthly training and diving in the CRESTSprogram’s Communiversity on Thinkific (link to our Thinkific page). 

One of my fondest memories of the free month of training was attending the December training, where the format was changed from a presentation style to a combination of presentation and connection. Witnessing what everyone brought to share during the training was so special. So, when the opportunity presented itself to become a graduate research assistant, I knew I wanted to apply to join an amazing team. This part of the journey has not yet concluded, and I can’t wait to share the rest of it in future blog posts. However, before we reach that point, I have yet to touch on another part of this journey. What activities, conversations, and experiences I work on at my university while learning at CRESTSprogram learning is not just about knowing; it is about learning through action.

What’s Next?

Hopefully, while reading this post, you will be inspired to reflect on your own journey and what brought you to this point in learning about culture-centered, trauma-informed care. What are some of the key moments and learning that helped you understand the need to seek out other resources and support? 

Until next time!

Practical Tips and Suggestions

Write, draw, or move your story or journey about how you understood the importance of culture-centered, trauma-informed care. Reflecting on your experiences can help, and when you engage in a creative process, you may notice different connections and themes.

Do your due diligence and think critically. Research the resources you come across to ensure that the resources come from credible people. And think critically about what is being offered. Does the resource make sense in the framework of culture-centered, trauma-informed care?

Additional Resources

Academic Papers


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