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Experience of Choice

A dirt path that splits in two

When I worked in different leadership positions, I always tried to provide opportunities for collaboration. As I hate micromanagement, I worked very hard to set the expectations for the finished project and not focus on how to get to that point.

As a parent, especially with daughters now in their teenage years, I give them choices about what to make for dinner. I had to learn that when giving a choice, I have to live with their decision even if it is the choice I didn’t want them to make.

I started reflecting on this more during a recent staff training on developing a trauma-informed organizational culture, the focus turned to providing youth and family empowerment through choice and collaboration.

Providing options or choices gives a feeling of control. This is especially important for the youth and families we serve, as trauma is something that takes away control.

For an organization dedicated to providing an environment of care that promotes health, healing, and hope among children, youth, and families who enter our continuum of care, it is critically important that we provide the opportunity for choice in as many aspects of care as we possibly can. As was shared in the training, it is important that we get curious and recognize that everything we do is about helping the youth and family learn to trust their expertise in their own care.

Of course there will be situations where choices are limited for the protection of the youth and the family. Yet we are striving in all that we do to provide choices whenever possible to allow for personal control to come back to all who we serve, making them active participants in the healing process.

Melissa Hopkins is the Public Relations and Marketing Specialist at Boys & Girls Homes of North Carolina.

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