The Center for Human Diversity has an exceptional history of providing badly needed free training for non-profit and public social service staff members who work under budgetary constraints for continuing education. That is because Valda Boyd Ford has always maintained that the best knowledge is achieved by doing. She is an accomplished thought leader and program designer because she constantly volunteers her time to assist the people that so many programs ultimately target for help. Her strength lies in knowing what underrepresented and at-risk people need from the bottom up, not the top down. Nobody needed more cultural competency and sensitivity development than staff members of the Nebraska Alzheimer’s Association, which was unable to develop an effective outreach component for an African American community that was rapidly accounting for high percentage of new cases; or the staff members trained on “Customer Service for the Real World,” who work for Douglas County General Assistance Department and spend their day challenged by low-income and no-income citizens seeking everything from bus tickets to food stamps to emergency housing. Or showing trainers of more than 250 public housing residents, the majority of whom are Section 8 welfare recipients, how to help their clients mentally rewire life aspirations and break a generation of life in the “projects.” Valda rarely declines an opportunity to meet with community groups, however small, and mandates that the Center for Human Diversity never host a workshop without reserving scholarship seats for our society’s most beleaguered social service workers – paid or voluntary. Helping America’s least represented clients is the heart and soul of her mission.
- SPEAKING AND TRAINING
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