Discussions can start at the dinner table. All parents should talk to their families about acceptance with regard to race and religion. Parents also can model positive and inclusive behavior and language around race and religion.
Talk to local schools about bringing social-emotional programs such as Beyond Differences’ free Positive Prevention Initiatives to your schools.
Volunteer and become a mentor to children in other communities and encourage your children to participate as well.
Invest in children. They will grow up to be teachers, parents, elected officials and business leaders. If every child feels accepted, respected and included, change in the country will happen.
As part of our series about 5 Steps That Each Of Us Can Take To Proactively Help Heal Our Country, I had the pleasure of interviewing Laura Talmus. Laura founded Beyond Differences along with her husband, Averell “Ace” Smith, following the unexpected death of their daughter Lili Rachel Smith in October 2009. Laura has run the day-to-day operations of Beyond Differences as a volunteer since its founding and was hired by the Board of Directors as its first Executive Director in August 2015. With over 35 years of experience in running and consulting to non- profit organizations, she is passionate about bringing awareness to the issue of adolescent social isolation. Among Laura’s recognitions for her work with Beyond Differences include being selected as an AARP Purpose Prize Fellow, a Jefferson Prize award recipient and being honored by the Marin County Commission on Human Rights with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Human Rights Award.
Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?