We each have our own way of looking at the world. Our perspectives are built on upbringing, ethnicity, education and experiences as we grow up. By adulthood we have developed unique views of the world around us – some good, some bad. How we view cultural differences is part of the perspectives we form.
In the workplace we discover the high value that employers place on diversity. Most companies invest a lot of time and money to educate and expose their employees to the richness of different cultures and people. The intent is to help employees move beyond tolerance and into appreciation. It is an easy transition for some and difficult for others.
One of the most meaningful and productive ways to build an understanding and appreciation of different cultures where we live and work is by becoming involved in local activities that focus on giving back to the community. It is in this setting that people from all cultures interact in improving the lives and physical needs of a neighborhood or a business. It is an enriching experience.
Giving back takes many forms – tutoring GED students, rebuilding homes, providing legal assistance and assisting the elderly are a few examples of community needs. There are as many volunteer organizations as there are community needs.
In the process of giving back to the community and becoming at home with diversity people develop lasting relationships with others volunteers and the communities being served. These relationships add another dimension to the lives of those who help and those who are helped.
The world grows smaller every day because we interact with so many different groups of people at work and in our everyday lives. Globally, businesses understand the importance of recognizing, respecting and building genuinely diverse relationships. Individually, we are given the same opportunities every day.