Cultural Competency and Diversity Plan

 

 

Introduction

Outside the Box, Inc. is committed to demonstrating competence and awareness to individuals served, staff, teams and stakeholders.  Outside the Box, Inc. values diversity and strives to ensure that people do not experience harassment or discrimination based on the following traits: culture; age; gender and gender identity; sexual orientation; spiritual beliefs; physical or mental disability; socioeconomic status; language.  The goal is for individuals to work effectively and positively cross-culturally with an understanding, an appreciation, and respect for the ever-changing diversity of today’s society.

Outside the Box, Inc. (OTB) maintains an employee harassment and civil rights violations policy with all employees and applicants for employment and encourages participants, teams, and stakeholders to adhere to the same standards.  As an equal opportunity employer, OTB hires and advances employees based on competence and qualifications, without regard to – race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, national origin, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, status with respect to marriage, status with respect to public assistance, or participation in lawful activity outside of working hours.

Mission:  Outside the Box Inc.’s mission is to empower individuals with intellectual disabilities toward personal growth, through education, self-discovery, leadership development and a customized career path.

Core Values: 

  • Capabilities
  • Self-Advocacy
  • Innovation
  • Integrity
  • Collaboration
  • Professionalism
  • Acceptance
  • Independence
  • Self-Wealth

Purpose:  This Cultural Competency and Diversity Plan addresses classes listed above.  It is reviewed annually for relevance and updated as needed by OTB’s administrative team, and is made available upon request by teams and stakeholders.  All personnel are trained on cultural competency and diversity in orientation, and again at annual re-training.  All participants in OTB’s day program also work through curriculum annually regarding acceptance and diversity.

Culture

Due to the varying cultural demographics of program participants, it is essential that OTB is committed to competency and awareness with regard to race and diverse cultural values.  It is the mission of OTB to teach awareness to its personnel, participants, stakeholders and the general public to respond respectfully and effectively to people of all cultures in a manner that recognizes, affirms, and values the work of individuals and protects their dignity.

 

 

Age

OTB serves individuals ranging from 6 to 80 years old and the age of personnel is diverse as well.  It is essential that OTB recognizes the unique aspects of age diversity and understands that people of all ages may collaborate and work with one another on a daily basis cohesively and seamlessly.  Also, OTB serves individuals with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other age-related diseases/disorders and employees receive annual training from a professional on those age related diseases/disorders. It is vital that personnel are educated on specific challenges that these individuals may face so they may foster feelings of comfort, safety and joy.

 

Sexual Orientation

OTB recognizes that sexual orientation is not limited to lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or heterosexual but rather that it occurs on a continuum.  OTB strives to educate participants, staff, teams and stakeholders on the value of acceptance with regards to sexual orientation in order to eliminate discrimination, and is proud to support this diversity in its participants and staff members.

Spiritual Beliefs

OTB maintains no affiliation with any formal religion or spiritual belief system. OTB encourages respect towards individuals with varying spiritual beliefs or lack thereof.  Staff and participants alike are accommodated on religious holidays, food restrictions, etc. as applicable.  In regard to different holiday activities and education, it is the mission of OTB to ensure that care is taken to include recognition of various beliefs.  For instance, staff are encouraged to discuss Hanukkah and Kwanzaa along with Christmas during the holiday season if activities planned revolve around the holiday. OTB staff understand and participants are not penalized if they choose to opt out of activities due to religious considerations.

Physical or Mental Disability

A core value of OTB is capabilities.  This means that OTB does not focus on the disabilities of individuals, but rather values them for their capabilities.  OTB educates our participants and staff to foster their inner wealth to become the best version of themselves.  As no two disabilities are the same, OTB staff are trained to treat all participants as individuals with respect and dignity.  Staff are instructed on an array of topics such as sensory integration and dual-diagnoses, and are encouraged to seek out additional information and/or trainings to help foster a better understanding of individuals’ needs.

Socioeconomic Status

A high percentage of OTB’s participants qualify for Indiana’s Medicaid, which means the subject of socioeconomic status is very relevant to our community. As OTB understands that many people we serve have limited resources, we are therefore committed to keeping outing and facility costs manageable for everyone. We encourage staff to explore free opportunities in regards to community exploration and promote a culture in which resourcefulness is prized. Small groups within OTB will often work together to fundraise to achieve group goals that are outside of the scope of their budget. These values are near to our heart both as a non-profit, and as an agency that seeks to promote good financial habits to our participants.

Language

OTB is aware of language barriers that may present when working with participants and team members.  Much of OTB’s participant population have communication difficulties of some sort.  Whether an individual communicates primarily non-verbally, uses English as a second language, or is deaf, care is taken to ensure individuals are communicated with as effectively as possible.  OTB strives to enable staff members to feel competent in this area by expanding their knowledge base with communication-specific trainings, such as ASL basics.  In the same sense, OTB staff are required to work alongside participants’ individual support teams and learn how to communicate effectively with people from various backgrounds.