Editor’s Note: This is part of a series sharing the values of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.
The second A in I CAN READ – the values statement of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading — stands for Authentic.
Being authentic entails giving our best efforts, being respectful and forthright, fair and compassionate, seeking first to understand and then to be understood, and deeply listening to others without arriving with all the answers.
In Manatee County, Graduation Enhancement Technicians (GETS) hired by the school district engage families by listening to them to mutually arrive at the answers as to why some children are not attending school often enough to be successful.
In both Sarasota and Manatee counties, Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten providers and Kindergarten teachers and administrators are working together to identify shared goals and concerns. The deep listening they engaged in led to Mind in the Making coming to our region where 30 passionate individuals are learning how to become Mind in the Making trainers.
The Campaign is engaging stakeholders in early learning and health to move from agency-centric to system-centric activities. These partners are working together and listening deeply to each other to determine what the current situation is in offering developmental and health screenings for young children and to come up with new or improved ways to screen all children who will benefit as they enter school.
If you have been anywhere around town recently, you may have seen our Vroom booths. Campaign consultants and volunteers are on hand to listen, understand, and show respect and compassion as they meet with new parents and caregivers. The team includes several fluent Spanish speakers who offer the same professionalism as they learn about families’ needs before offering any answers.
What’s the lesson from all of these activities and initiatives? When you listen to people and engage with them, the process becomes a more authentic experience. For the Campaign to become a lasting movement, all passionate and engaged individuals and partners must strive for authenticity in all that they do.