The Green Team is apart of a vocational training program run by HSNY on Riker’s Island. Members were primarily African American, and had recently been released from prison.
My assignment was to conduct qualitative surveys in order to guage Green Team member's attitudes toward the program. The results would later be used for grants.
It was extremely difficult to engage the Green Team because they did not want to divulge any personal information to someone they did not know. It became quiet obvious that I was not considered “one of them” and therefore I did not have their respect.
I later earned their respect by working side by side with them and finding commonalities between us and identify common cultural values. Eventually, they were glad to tell me about themselves and happy to have their portrait taken. Through this experience I learned to be aware the differences in culture and learned how to be culturally competent and making deeper connections with people.