“We may have different religions, different languages, different colored skin, but we all belong to one human race.”

That quote by Kofi Annan (Ghanian Diplomat, 7th UN Secretary General, 2001 Nobel Peace Prize Winner) reminds us that despite our diverse ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds, we all have a lot in common and share the same basic human needs.

The act of valuing differences – respecting and appreciating the values, beliefs and practices of persons who are culturally different – has shown great benefits and outcomes in such settings as the workplace and schools. In her article, “Respecting and Valuing Differences: Corporate Diversity Programs Must be Inclusive to be Successful,” Y’Anad Burrell writes:

“A diverse workforce is a company’s lifeblood, and diverse perspectives and approaches are the only way of solving complex and challenging business issues. Deriving the value of diversity means uncovering all talent, and that means creating a workplace characterized by inclusion.”

The Century Foundation reports on how attending racially diverse schools and classrooms can benefit students: “Students can learn better how to navigate adulthood in an increasingly diverse society – a skill that employers value.”

We consider the topic of valuing differences essential and include the subject in our respite-care training curriculum.

We spend time discussing a wide range of topics including: understanding cultural values and how they influence your relationship with others, being ready to engage with all different types of people, recognizing that one’s own way of thinking and behaving is not the only way, and acquiring knowledge about specific cultures.

We believe these important tips prepare REST trainers and REST Companions to provide quality respite to caregiving families, with respect to their unique values, beliefs and practices.

At REST, we agree: “Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common. Celebrate it every day.” Author Unknown

To learn more about REST and our respite-training programs, visit: www.restprogram.org