Cultural Awareness week

The Boys to Men Foundation Cultural Awareness Weekis a unique experience, that allows youth and adults alike, to learn about and enjoy the many cultures from around the globe that make our country the great melting pot it is today. Partnering with the Arts & Science Council, the Museum of History, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Mecklenburg Library – this journey around the globe will introduce to you to the likes of native African dances, delicious delicacies from India, and interactive stories about Latin folklore, designed to broaden the scope of other cultures.  The seven-day adventure, full of excitement, education, and enrichment, will culminate with a day trip to the infamous Charlestown Plantation, and a tasty evening broil.  

BTM foundation serves boys that are considered “at-risk” due to emotional, behavioral, or low level mental disorders, or who are in need of a new direction and hope in life. The multicultural group served includes African-American, Latino/Hispanic, Caucasian and other backgrounds making up a representative sample of the diverse world they live in. During the cultural awareness week, the boys will learn about the rich culture as well as disparities which will assist in a greater understanding with a positive outlook on attitudes toward education, career and social skills. 

Exploring diverse cultures shows a common thread in all and allows children to feel connected and develop a sense of belonging to the community. That sense of belonging and social connection is a protective buffer for mental health and wellbeing, reducing stress, depression and violence. Cultural Awareness week allows development of a strong sense of one’s own cultural history and traditions, as well as cultures that differ from their own. The resulting effect is a positive association to diversity by removing fear and misunderstanding of the unknown, and an increased sense of self-worth.

The goal of this experience is to introduce the similarities and differences with respect for each culture and establish the awareness of the common threads we all share. Gaining knowledge through the senses; hearing, seeing, tasting, and touching provides a more memorable experience to deepen the understanding and accomplish the goals of acceptance of diversity. The resulting familiarity will tie together history, geography and anthropology in the context of race, ethnicity, language and culture.

The activities that are planned are geared toward providing awareness and sensitivity to diverse cultures. Each of the seven days will be an experience rather than a lecture to ensure engagement and fun while learning about diverse cultures in our melting pot that is America.

Monday:Hispanic/Latino music, food and folklore

Tuesday:Indian ceremonial clothing, delicacies and spirituality

Wednesday: Asian educational beliefs, cultural norms, and food

Thursday: European backgrounds in Caucasian Americans

Friday: African music and dance, travel to plantation, basket weaving, and foods

Community engagement during Cultural Awareness week consists of integrating art, teachers, speakers and restaurants whose talents and efforts serve to layer the experiences for the BTM program attendees by tantalizing all of the senses with cultural diversity. Community partners include Arts & Science Council, the Museum of History, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and the Mecklenburg library.

BTM attendees will gain a greater understanding, acceptance and respect for cultural diversity through experiential learning and increase their own self-worth in the process.