• IDRA Newsletter • January 1999

For 25 years, IDRA has worked with communities in ways that recognize and value their diversity. We work directly and intensely with educators who teach children and adults, policy makers who directly impact the quality of schools and their access by all children; the broader community and families of children, especially those who most need high quality education to change the circumstances of their lives.

IDRA provided the San Antonio community with the facts about adult literacy in both 1980 and 1990. This information resulted in increased community efforts to more effectively serve adults in achieving literacy. Our recommendations provided the focus needed for increasing access to information and services, improving coordination of efforts, and refining training and instruction for educators and adults who are working to achieve literacy.

Through our work with the Children’s Trust Fund, IDRA has listened to the voices of service providers and clients of child abuse prevention agencies in Texas. This has resulted in service providers having a greater awareness of and sensitivity to client needs.

IDRA’s work with the San Antonio Community Education Leadership Program (CELP) is another example of our commitment to creating solutions for education through the community. Through CELP, IDRA models its vision by bringing together community members of diverse ethnicities from public and private institutions. The nine-month fellowship causes community leaders to experience and examine attitudes toward their own and others’ cultures and explore the structures that promote cultural bias. This intense experience results in a greater commitment to capitalizing on and celebrating cultural diversity.

As part of the national One America initiative, IDRA coordinated community dialogues on racism in San Antonio in collaboration with CELP, City Year San Antonio and KLRN-TV9. The effort focused on three premises:

  • San Antonio is a racially and ethnically diverse city.
  • There are racial, social, economic and educational divides that still exist in our city.
  • Things do not have to be this way; change does result from dialogue and action.

More than 600 people throughout the city participated to make it a more unified community.

IDRA sees disparities and has genuine concerns about the quality of education for our children and consistently values our community by providing accurate information and spurring leadership. We inform the community and raise the conscience and compassion of the community to resolve disparities and the results of historical racism. The issues we bring to the community are not easy or popular. When we take on projects that involve media, we are careful to present images that value the clients rather than demonize them. The messages we consistently push in our community work include:

  • Literacy involvement brings opportunities.
  • Our community can increase literacy.
  • All people are valuable.

We can make our schools and communities work for everyone, when we work together.

Comments and questions may be sent to IDRA via e-mail at feedback@idra.org.

[©1999, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the January 1999 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]