YWCA Alaska’s mission is “Eliminating racism and empowering women, promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all” – our very mission is centered around Social Justice as described in the SJF’s goal statement. Our Wellness and Economic programs give disenfranchised individuals the information and access they need to stay healthy and achieve financial stability. Our Cultural Connections program provides educational opportunities to help community members empathize with each other and better understand how culture guides all of us, how it is often used to exclude people (intentionally or unintentionally), and the methods we can use to integrate and leverage the cultural diversity present within our communities to make us stronger and more vibrant.
Cultural Connections offers foundational education on culture and intercultural sensitivity. Intercultural theory is based on the concept that with increased cultural competence comes the ability to shift one’s perspective to better understand someone from a different cultural group. That understanding in turn increases the likelihood of success in communication and in the ability to adapt and/or integrate as is appropriate. Cultural Connections promotes intercultural sensitivity at the individual and the institutional level. By studying how the dominant culture feeds systems that disenfranchise members of other cultures, institutions can make changes that create a more inclusive environment.