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Day of Giving

By Jennifer Smith

Out of respect for today’s social climate, the Cohen Veterans Network, including the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Centerstone dedicated a day to listening, learning and growing together.  This special day is described below by our Assistant Clinical Director, Jennifer Smith.

Reflection, education, intention, vulnerability, and respect- these would all be words I would use to describe what our team experienced at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Centerstone on Friday, June 26th.  It was termed “Day of Giving” with the intention of giving back to our community but in our current climate of cautiousness around social distancing the team had to think outside the box for what a “Day of Giving” was going to mean.

It was a day set aside by the leadership of the Cohen Veterans Network to not only acknowledge the recent events within our society and the injustices we have been both professionally and personally affected by, but also to reflect on how we set the stage to move forward with a more equitable and diverse lens as a clinic, a part of a community, and a proud member of our nation.

We experienced four very thoughtful presentations that addressed topics from talking with children about racism, to being “color brave”, to how we can heal ourselves and others from racial trauma.

We were led in thoughtful discussion and reflection by our presenters about the personal and clinical implications of not addressing racial injustice, but also social injustices that exist at large. We were able to hear perspectives, stories of triumph, moments of struggle, and experience these vulnerabilities all while existing in an environment of readiness to learn.

Our goal for the “Day of Giving” was to bring awareness and perspective in a supportive environment, but to also learn and gather resources to better be prepared within our clinics. From the model of the Cohen Clinic we addressed all areas of service and how we can improve on our practices and ensure our practice represents one that is truly Color Brave.

We were led in discussion on addressing disparities with our clients to ensure openness during our sessions and provided with resources to help have thoughtful and intentional discussions within our clinic walls. Our goal in our “Day of Giving” was to leave better than we were at the beginning. More knowledgeable, more aware, and more intentional of our actions moving forward.

Reflection, intention, education, vulnerability, and respect- we were granted an opportunity to experience all of these as a team as we discussed the events that are overwhelmingly affecting our nation. We grew as people, we grew as clinicians, but we also grew as a team in hopes that we will be able to better serve each client that has the courage to seek help a the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Centerstone.

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