Catholic Network of Volunteer Service

Renewal Workshop
April 2005

Situation

Catholic Network of Volunteer Service (CNVS) is a national association of Christian volunteer and mission programs that promote domestic and international service opportunities to people of all backgrounds, ages, and skills.

The organization sought to reinvigorate itself, helping members ensure that they were as inclusive as possible in order to remove barriers to success. Members wanted to develop a shared understanding about cultural competence and dedicate themselves to promoting diversity.

The Approach

Carefully considering their objectives, Ann Marie Lei collaborated with CNVS Board President Maureen Connors to design and deliver a 2.5-day program for CNVS members. They used Appreciative Inquiry to generate a list of elements that must be present in truly inclusive organizations and the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) and Development Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS) to assess individual and organizational cultural competence.

Participants spent the time in conversation, reflection, and interactive exercises, focused on sharing ideas and personal development. As they delved into their own backgrounds and experiences, many were surprised to find that they were not as culturally sensitive as they thought.

Working with Ann Marie, CNVS members embraced tools to help move them in the right direction and, at the end of the program, each participant committed to two or three concrete actions they would take in the near future to foster inclusiveness.

The Results

Ann Marie Lei skillfully helped CNVS explore the important topic of intercultural awareness, communication, and competence. “The two-day session she developed for our member programs was informative, challenging, fun, and productive—a hard combination to come by!” says Maureen Connors, former Board President, Catholic Network of Volunteer Service.

Ann Marie’s ability to assess the needs of the group and fit the materials and program to its needs helped CNVS take critical steps in making its entire systems more diverse and culturally sensitive. Says Jim Lindsay, Executive Director, Catholic Network of Volunteer Service,

“The workshop that Ms. Lei facilitated took us a long way toward meeting our goals.She demonstrated a strong command of the subject matter, using up-to-date resource materials, and was adept at responding to participants’ questions and helping them apply the exercises to their own situations. We made real progress as a result of her skills!”