Prompted by hate crime attacks in 2010, a series of community dialogue meetings began to consider if and how to respond to these incidents. So far, two groups have emerged from these meetings to address the underlying issues — one, for family mentoring, will teach participants the skills to assist at-risk families using a format developed by a nonprofit organization called Family Promise (http://www.familypromise.org/)
Nine community members have agreed to participate in the training, which can be completed in 12 hours but, depending upon number of trainees and pace, can take longer. The group held its second meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 27.
Once trained, mentors are matched with economically vulnerable families through referral from community service or religious organizations. Mentors agree to meet, usually on a weekly basis, with their mentees and remain committed to that family for up to a year. Since training is still in the early stages, anyone interested in joining should contact Alan Morphett at [email protected].
The second group to form as a result of the community dialogue meetings is concentrating on preparing a free film series focused on understanding diversity and the biases that can foster prejudice. Its first meeting was Wednesday, Sept. 28.
The group plans to schedule free film screenings in a number of Idyllwild venues at least once a month and feature both documentary and feature films. The series’ working title is “Seeing Diversity,” and organizers aim to screen a broad spectrum of films that examine racial, religious, ethnic, gender and other stereotypes that stigmatize and separate individuals or groups into “others.” One of the questions the film series will examine is what does it feel like to be viewed as the “other.” Contact Mary Morse at (951) 634-4048 or at [email protected] if interested in being on the coordinating committee. The committee next meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5, at Spirit Mountain Retreat.