Throughout the month of February, KVC Prairie Ridge Hospitals’ Diversity Matters Initiative committee set a goal to structure and promote Black History Month within the building, with client groups and in staff meetings.
As part of the celebrations, the committee compiled a list of Black History Month activities happening in, and around, the Kansas City Metro area, posting the information online and sharing it on KVC Prairie Ridge Hospitals’ Facebook page. Pictures and short biographies were also posted on Facebook to celebrate the life and accomplishments of known leaders, innovators, and pioneers in black history. Dr. Jackie Suttington, Ombudsperson and Children’s Chaplain for KVC, spoke to staff during a Lunch and Learn to discuss embracing differences and inclusion.
Clients receiving treatment at Prairie Ridge were also involved in celebrating and learning about diversity throughout Black History Month. Art Therapist Krista Heller discussed Martin Luther King, Jr.’s impact on society with younger clients and instructed them to draw a picture of something they are hopeful for in the future. Heller connected the artwork to create a “quilt” to display on the unit. For adolescent clients, Heller divided them into groups and provided each member with a black sheet of paper, a white sheet of paper, and a colored sheet of paper. Each group was instructed to make a mosaic, resulting in different creations from the youth. Afterward, the group discussed how neither the black or white paper alone would have created an interesting picture, yet the two could be combined to create beautiful patterns. Heller pointed out the differences between the mosaics and how no two pieces of art were alike, just as no two people are alike, which led to a discussion about diversity and how each individual has a purpose in life.
Music Therapist Rachel Rotert also discussed Black History Month with younger clients and led the group with musical games designed to teach teamwork, courageous leadership, and mutual respect. With her adolescent music therapy groups, Rotert played a recording of the song “Glory” from the movie “Selma.” The discussion centered around what the youth knew about the civil rights movement and what lessons that we, as a nation, are still learning. Next, Rotert distributed drums and led a live version of the song “Where is the Love” with the group as they worked together to create a simple, united beat. Youth then played an interactive teamwork game called instrument pass, utilizing classic songs from the 50s through the 80s written by influential African American musicians. Some song selections included “Lean on Me”, “Black or White”, and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”
“As we have a group of diverse staff members who are providing services to a diverse group of clients, celebrating and embracing diversity is important,” said Sara Schlagel, Associate Director of Hospital Services and member of the Diversity Matters Initiative committee.
Our Diversity Matters Initiative committee has plans to celebrate more recognized months including Women’s History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, and Native American Heritage Month to name a few. Visit our Diversity Matters Initiative page on our website to stay updated on what the committee is doing!