Cultural Competence Secrets to Success with Immigrant Families: Spreading and Adapting 2Gen Working Practices

Developing cultural competence is important for everyone, but it is especially vital for providers and collaborations who work with immigrant and refugee families to better understand the cultural norms of their customers. Cultural competence means thinking critically about how services are offered to children and parents and how staff are hired and trained — and it extends to a focus on culturally-sensitive mental health and well-being for families, as well as staff. Through this hard work, a more equitable community is established. But what are the secrets to success that 2Gen efforts should use to make all their work culturally appropriate and relevant?

Join us on Wednesday, November 10 at 2PM ET to hear how providers are learning cultural competency to better connect with and understand the worldview of the immigrant families they serve. The conversation will explore issues of gender norms, trauma-informed care, immigrant and refugee mental health, and financial literacy. Speakers will share how they have navigated the needs of different groups they serve, including Arab-American, Somali, and Vietnamese families.

Our Story Speakers

Rawaa Nancy Albilal

Rawaa Nancy Albilal, President & Chief Executive Officer, Arab-American Family Support Center (AAFSC)

Ms. Nancy Albilal joined AAFSC in March 2017, bringing her experience in organizational development, strategic planning, and in building community stakeholder collaboration initiatives. Prior to joining AAFSC, Ms. Albilal served as the Vice President for Development at the Foundation Center and Director of Social Services at the Department of Child and Family Well-Being for the City of Newark, where she was responsible for strategic planning, resource development, and evaluation. Previously, she was Vice President for Knowledge Management, COO, and Executive Vice President for Community Impact for the United Way, serving mainly in New Jersey for 10 years. Ms. Albilal served as a consultant and lecturer for Rutgers University teaching cultural diversity and inclusion. She is published in refereed journals, and has deep knowledge on issues of diversity, inclusion, and cultural competency.

Danny Salim

Danny Salim, Senior Director of Solution Based Casework – Brooklyn, Arab-American Family Support Center (AAFSC)

Mr. Danny Salim joined AAFSC in 2013 and has vast experience in trauma healing and resilience, healing circles processes, women and youth empowerment, human rights, and culturally sensitive programming. He is passionate about examining sociopolitical experiences and systems that foster community development policy practice with a trauma-informed framework. Prior to joining AAFSC, Mr. Salim worked at several national and international organizations including Non-Violent Peace-Force and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). While at UNDP, Mr. Salim designed and developed the Conflict Prevention Community of Practice Team Works Platform (CP-CoP), an interactive forum for dialogue and resource sharing between the UN and civil society organizations. At AAFSC, Mr. Salim leads cultural competency trainings for staff, community-based organizations, and government partners.

John Till

John Till, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Innovation, The Family Partnership

Mr. John Till leads The Family Partnership’s 2Generation (2Gen) and brain science-informed program and policy strategies. He spearheaded development of The Family Partnership’s Executive Functioning Across Generations curriculum, a novel whole family approach to boost executive functioning in preschool children and their parents. Mr. Till participates in the leading national networks for brain science innovation, including Change in Mind, the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities’ international brain science initiative; Ascend at the Aspen Institute, the primary national resource for organizations implementing a two-generation (2Gen) approach; and Harvard’s Frontiers of Innovation, which seeks to accelerate innovation in the early childhood field. He also has led successive cycles of program innovation, including including The Family Partnership’s use of a Mobility Mentoring 2Gen program called Intergen.

Policy Discussion

Margie McHugh

Margie McHugh, Director of the National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy at the Migration Policy Institute

The Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy is is a national hub for leaders in government, community affairs, business and academia to obtain the insights and knowledge they need to respond to the challenges and opportunities that today’s high rates of immigration pose for communities across the United States. It provides in-depth research, policy analysis, technical assistance, training and information resource services on a broad range of immigrant integration issues. Margie’s work focuses on education quality and access issues for immigrants and their children from early childhood through K-12 and adult, post-secondary and workforce skills programs. She also leads the Center’s work seeking a more coordinated federal response to immigrant integration needs and impacts, and more workable systems for recognition of the education and work experience immigrants bring with them to the United States.

Our Moderator

Karen Murrell

Karen Murrell, President, Higher Heights Consulting

Karen is a national consultant who provides technical assistance to develop programs, products, and services that improve family well-being. Her recent efforts to support family well-being through 2Gen approaches include: designing national peer learning activities to advance practitioner knowledge, developing 2Gen materials and resources, and providing technical assistance to organizations. Karen previously served as an instructor at Duke University’s Global Leadership Academy in Shanghai and as a Senior Research Fellow at the New America Foundation, Senior Director at the Fannie Mae Foundation. She is also co-author of You and Your Money: A No Stress Guide to Becoming Financially Fit.

About the Spreading and Adapting 2Gen Working Practice Series

As 2020 unfolded with the COVID-19 pandemic, a weakened economy and increasing anti-immigrant rhetoric, the need for effective design and delivery of 2Gen services grew — and nonprofit organizations responded with quick thinking and action, inventiveness, and adaptation. Hosted by the Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group in partnership with the Migration Policy Institute and Ascend at the Aspen Institute, this four-part webinar series will unpack the nuts and bolts of creative strategies that nonprofit organizations have implemented to deliver 2Gen services to immigrant families, youth and children. These events are open to anyone interested in learning more about work with immigrant families, and no prior 2Gen knowledge or experience is necessary.

You can watch the recordings of the prior events in the series below:

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