Practical skills in prevention series: Nurturing a sense of belonging
When it comes to building workforce capacity, some fields overlook the importance of practical or “soft skills” as they are not as tangible as technical or “hard skills.” Soft skills are abilities that relate to how you work and interact with others. Soft skills are transferable, and useful in every domain of life. Soft skills enable you to collaborate, build relationships, and enhance productivity. For prevention professionals, strong communication skills instill confidence to engage with communities, foster meaningful connections and strengthen relationships. Developing soft skills may take time but is essential for advancing in the modern prevention workforce.
The goal of this session is to explore the concept of belonging in our communities and its application in the prevention field. Dr. Kelly-Ann writes that a sense of belonging, "is a fundamental human need that predicts numerous mental, physical, social, economic and behavior outcomes." If this is true, do we have a responsibility to make sure everyone in our communities feels like they belong? What's the individual community member's responsibility? This interactive session will explore these questions and how forms of exclusion can lead to substance use/misuse. Participants will be placed in breakout groups to discuss and brainstorm strategies to recruit and retain diverse community members to lead prevention initiatives.