Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Individualism versus collectivism in culture-centering processes

Over the past couple of months, I have been engaging adolescents in Marion County in centering their voices to identify heart health needs and propose solutions that are meaningful to them. The adolescent heart project emerged from the suggestions of the adults in the CUAHD project. Thus far, the experience of working with teenagers to design and implement a health campaign targeting heart disease has been interesting, and speaks to the uniqueness of our broad theoretical framework, the culture-centered approach that seeks to locate decision making power into the hands of the community. An example of the interesting dynamic that is playing out in the project is the concept of individualism versus collectivism in decision making and in driving the project forward. On March 6, I emailed the group about my inability to attend the planned strategy development workshop due to bad weather .Interestingly, the group proceeded with organizing the workshop as originally scheduled, and also set agenda for the next workshop. At the meeting, the advisory board took the lead in organizing the workshop. Particularly interesting is the students’ conceptualization of pre and post surveys that will measure the impact of their proposed campaign. The lesson here is that culture-centering processes do not rest in the hands of one person; instead it thrives on collective organizing and decision making.


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