In keeping with the themes of MLK day, we decided that it would be a good idea to focus our monthly VISTA meeting on items such as social justice, racism/prejudice, and civil rights.
At our meeting, we were able to do two different ice breakers that allowed people to really open up and share personal issues with the group and explore difficult topics. One of the activities was called “Circles of My Multicultural Self” which allows people to think about stereotypes of themselves and also others. For instance, I identify strongly with being from New Jersey and especially having a strong connection with the Jersey Shore. However, I don’t identify with what many people may think of when “Jersey Shore” is mentioned or what they may see on TV sometimes.
Try doing this with yourself sometime. Think about what stereotypes you would not want to be associated with and also the stereotypes that others wouldn’t want to be associated with either.
The other game we played involved dissecting issues. A question is posed and a ball of yarn is passed around. People then have the opportunity to answer the question in their own way. For example, questions such as “Why does racism exist?” and “What can we do to stop racism?” were posed and some great points were made.
I would encourage everyone to try to do these activities with their own corps. It not only might be able to help people open up but might also help make them feel more comfortable with others in a group they may not know well enough yet. You can find further descriptions for the activities here. They include the two that I mention in this post entitled “Circles of My Multicultural Self” and “Trust me” as well as many others you might be interested in– So keep looking inward and also outward to see the bigger picture that affects individuals, groups, and society as a whole; you might be surprised at what you find!