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Running head: Cultural Immersion Paper

Cultural Immersion Paper


Vanessa Willie
Wilmington University
AHS 8100
Distance Learning

Cultural Immersion Paper

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Cultural Immersion Paper

Growing up in a diverse city such as New York City you encountered people from
various different cultures and walks of life daily. Ive been working at my current agency Leake
and Watts Services, Inc. in the Foster Care department for the past four years. A Judge of
Westchester County of New York and former Congressman John Watts, Jr. founded what used to
be called the Leake and Watts Orphan House in 1831. Leake and Watts Services, Inc. was one of
the first private charitable institutions in the country dedicated to children in need (Leake and
Watts Services, Inc., 2015). They serve more than 8,000 children, adults and families in the
greater New York City metro area each year. They have 40 separate programs and 22 locations.
They were also need the 2014 gold winner of the prestigious New York Community Trust
Nonprofit Excellence Awards. Their mission is dedicated to supporting children, adults and
families. Working together, we create strong foundations for success (Leake and Watts Services,
Inc., 2015).
I completed my internship with the Volunteer Manager in the Institutional Advancement
department. My title during my internship was Outreach Coordinator. Some of my main duties
and responsibilities so far have consisted of performing outreach to local colleges and
universities to try and recruit them to intern in our Early Head Start and Head Start programs.
For my culture immersion paper I wanted to focus on Hispanic culture. Although I've worked
with this culture in the past I've never actually taken the time out to learn more about them. Due
to the location of my job and internship we serve a great number of Hispanic's very various
countries such as Mexico which majority of our clients are from, Puerto Rico, and the Dominic
Republic. For this paper I would like to focus on the Hispanic's from the Dominic Republic.
Working in the human service field you will come across people from many different culture

Cultural Immersion Paper

backgrounds. Not only will you have to know how to work with coworkers from various
backgrounds, but also more importantly you will work with clients from various backgrounds.
The most efficient way to help our clients is by understanding their cultural background. What
may be socially acceptable in your background may differ in theres.
According to the National Organization for Human Services (NOHS) Code of Ethics,
STATEMENT 18 states Human service professionals are knowledgeable about the cultures and
communities within which they practice. They are aware of multiculturalism in society and its
impact on the community as well as individuals within the community. They respect individuals
and groups, their cultures and beliefs (Ethical Standards for Human Service Professionals 1996).
In order for workers to incorporate assessment successfully, workers must be respectful of the
clients culture and religion. We must understand clients family structure and cultural values.
We must then incorporate what we have learned about the familys culture and religion into
making a service plan for them. For example, workers should be respectful of the clients culture
and religion, and explain to them local and state laws. They should inform clients that while
living in this country they must abide by local and state laws and that disciplining a child to the
point where it leaves on mark is not acceptable. The worker should then refer their clients to
culture/religion sensitive parenting class.
In 1492 Christopher Columbus visits the island and names it Hispaniola. Dominic Republic. In
1496 Spaniards establish a colony at Santo Domingo, which becomes the capital of all the
Spanish colonies in America (Dominican Republic: History, 2015). A few years later the
Spaniards began bring the slaves over to their newfound land. In 1795 Spain gives its portion of
Hispaniola to France. It wasnt until 1804 that the western part of the island of Hispaniola
becomes the Republic of Haiti. Santo Domingo is conquered and reclaimed by Haiti in 1822 but

Cultural Immersion Paper

then in another revolt overthrows the Haitian president and Santo Domingo gains independence,
becoming the Dominican Republic (Dominican Republic: History, 2015). Around 1906 the
United States of America signs a treaty but the in 1924he US leave and the Dominican Republic
establishes a democratically elected constitutional government (Dominican Republic: History,
2015).
It is said that many do not believe they are of African-American descent. In the movie Black in
Latin America Henry Louis Gates explores the tortured divide between the Dominican Republic
and Haiti, two sides of the island once called Hispaniola. The Dominican culture is Spanish, and
successive governments there have despised and brutalized the African blacks that dominate
Haiti. In focusing on the Hispanic culture Ive notice that theres a lot of older Hispanics in our
area that are without jobs or are seeking assistance in transitioning into new careers. Mr. Ken
Dychtwald reports in his book, Mature employment and career transitions coordinates who
would assist maturing adults in career and lifestyles transitions by navigating through a network
of job opportunities with minimum hassle (Dychtwald, 1999). With several developments in
the past two decades it is believed that employee expectations of secure lifetime jobs, predictable
career advancements, and stable and progressive salary raises are fast becoming a thing of the
past. With new advances in technology baby boomer employees are remaining in their job
position but often fear that their position might become outsourced (Geok, 2002). The fear comes
from thinking companies will hire younger workers to replace them or that technology will
eliminate their position. The development in technology has generated additional pressure on the
long-term sustainability of the employment relationship (Geok, 2002). The population of the
U.S. is expected to age rapidly. The Bureau of Census predicts that the group of citizens over 65
years of age will have expanded from the present 13% to 20% of the population by 2050 (Geok,

Cultural Immersion Paper

2002). Many boomers often find it difficult to obtain employment especially if they were let go
in the past from another employer. In the United States we have promoted and adopted social
policies to address the issues faced by older workers. Since 1967, through the Age
Discrimination Act, The United States has prohibited workplace discrimination against
individuals aged 40 and above. This act however, only applies to businesses with more than 20
workers. The government has also adopted a wide range of program and services to manage the
issue of employment of older workers.
I had the opportunity of interview one of my coworkers Kat for this project. The questions were
as follows:
1. What is your history? What is your home origin? Why did your family settle in the
country?
Kat reported both of her parents born and raised in the Dominican Republic but she
however was born in Queens, NY but grew up in the Bronx. She reports having one sister
and no brothers. Her parents were married in the Dominican Republic and shortly after
her dad moved from Dominican Republic to be with his mother. Once he was settled in
with his mother, he then helped his wife to move to New York. After that her mother
assist her parents to move to New York. Her mother and father believed there were better
medical services available in in New York for their parents. Kat moved to the Bronx
when she was about 4 years old because of her parents separation.
2. What are some of your family customs and roles of members within your family? What is
your role in your family?
Kat reports her family celebrates Three Kings holiday, which is held around January 6th.
Her family is catholic however she identifies herself as being spiritual. Her grandparents

Cultural Immersion Paper

attend church regularly however the immediate family does not. She believes her family
is very family oriented. Her family has adapted American culture and celebrates their
major holiday as a family.
Kat believes her culture is very gender based where the women is typically the ones who
stay home, cooks, and takes care of the family, however believes the younger generation
to not follow those terms as much as the elderly. She reports her role in her family is not
defined. She try's to assist her mother as much as she can and to be the best daughter she
can be. Her sister moved out and she lives with her mom and moms boyfriend and her
mothers main concern is she to focus on school and to be more successful than she was.
She a first generation American and reports that's a hard shoe to fill as a lot is expected
from her.
3. How can you communicate effectively in your culture? Consider the meaning of tone of
voice, gestures, eye contact, and overall body language.
Kat reports one of voices must always be clam and was taught at an early age it's not
what you say, it's how you say it. She reports the younger generation very respectful
towards the elderly generation, meaning grandparents and that body language is also very
important.
4. Identify and verify customs, beliefs, and practices that might be misinterpreted by
established institutions within your community e.g. schools, law enforcement, social
services, health care providers
One example that Kat recalls is that while at college people assumed because a person was Black
or Hispanic that meant they were receiving financial aid or only attended her particular college
because they receive the full scholarship. She also believes that the media doesn't focus on other

Cultural Immersion Paper

Hispanic cultures besides the ones from Mexico. Also people assume in regards to social
services people believe blacks and Hispanics receiving more aid.
5. What religious or spiritual beliefs are influential in your culture and or family?
Kat reports attending a catholic college in New York by choice. She wanted to discover more
about herself and her religion. She identifies herself as being spiritual. She does not want to
raise kids with a religion however, would be willing to have her child baptize in a catholic
church's and believes that's more tradition versus doing it for religious reasons.

Cultural Immersion Paper

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References

Dominican Republic: History. (2015). (Michigan State University) Retrieved from Global Edge:
http://globaledge.msu.edu/countries/dominican-republic/history

Ethical Standards for Human Service Professionals. (1996). Retrieved from National
Human Services: http://www.nationalhumanservices.org/ethical-standards-forhs-professionals
Geok, W. B. (2002, September 13). THE EMPLOYMENT OF MATURE AND OLDER
WORKERS: STRATEGIES FOR MANAGING WORK AND CAREER TRANSITIONS.
Retrieved August 12, 2015, from Nanyang Technical University:
http://www.asiacase.com/pdf/indproj/momReport.pdf