SWAN/IL Summer Statewide Meeting Generates Socially-Distant Engagement
For the first time, the SWAN/IL Summer Statewide Meeting went virtual. To ensure safety due to COVID-19, over 800 people from across the network participated in the meeting via Zoom, rather than in-person.
The Office of Children, Youth and Families, the Child Welfare Resource Center, and the SWAN prime contractor opened the meeting by presenting the recent Administrative Updates. The keynote presentation, “Bridges Out of Poverty,” was an engaging discussion led by Jodi Pfarr of aha! Process, Inc.
Jodi discussed economic environments and how they shape our perspectives. She shared examples of how the experiences of living at levels of poverty, middle class or wealth differ and broke down the “hidden rules” and norms of each group. She stressed the importance of understanding how these rules inform our own decisions, communication and judgments; because we understand the world based on our position in it, it’s imperative to empathize with other people’s perspectives and experiences to build relationships and mutual respect in our work.
The "Bridges Out of Poverty" handouts can be viewed and downloaded from the Publications section of this website.
Hosting the meeting on a virtual platform provided some unique new benefits. According to the SWAN conferencing team, this meeting’s turnout easily doubled that of the typical in-person Summer Statewide Meeting. Additionally, Zoom’s chat feature allowed attendees to engage with both the presenter and one another by asking questions, providing feedback and sharing their own experiences throughout the day.
While the meeting was not without a few technical difficulties, we appreciate and commend everyone in attendance for their flexibility and commitment to coming together as a SWAN community.