Scripture is full of examples like this, where Jesus reminds those around him — and us today — of the need to focus first on our own choices and approaches rather than judging others. The gospels frequently remind us that if we are to help others, we must begin by taking stock of our own wellbeing and readiness to serve.
Catholic Charities and its 25 member agencies take this approach very much to heart. We continuously seek ways to improve our approach to our work so we can improve the ways we reach out to others.
With clients ranging from teen mothers and their babies to new Canadians and isolated seniors, the Catholic Charities family has a front-row seat to life, in all its splendour, and with all its challenges. We are committed to serving the community. That means we are in a process of continual learning, so that we are aware of the needs of society, and so that we can ensure we are working in the most positive, effective manner possible.
With a growing awareness of the implications and impact of racism, for example, Catholic Charities has created a working group consisting of representatives from member agencies to examine systemic racism. This group is currently determining the scope of the work and a consultation process, with a plan to present a framework for education, community engagement and capacity building that can then be shared with agency boards and staff to begin to effect positive transformation. We need to keep learning ourselves to best help those we serve.
Similarly, Catholic Charities staff, board members and agency representatives recently participated in a two-part workshop on restorative justice, discussing healthy styles of workplace leadership so as to be more effective and productive. Being a positive support to others we work with begins with feeling respected and heard ourselves.
And that is why we are launching this blog. A happy, healthy, and productive life comes from learning. That’s not to suggest we must head back to the classroom. It does, however, speak to the education that comes from being engaged in dialogue with others. It is only when we engage with the people we encounter in the coffee shop or the waiting room, the woman we see every day at the bus stop, or the new family who have just moved in down the street, that we can begin to broaden our understanding of the challenges other people face, or how our commonality supersedes our differences.
And so we want to talk about the issues of the day, and let you know a little more about who we are, what we do and how you can help. We will be blogging regularly in the hopes of engaging with the community and learning from you.