I recently told my mom that my mentor at DFA had become, throughout the course of the year, a friend. She had welcomed me into the organization, spoke to me as an equal, and was patient and kind as I learned the ropes of the organization. Our professional relationship reflects the workplace culture at DFA. Here are just a few examples of how DFA works hard to create a welcoming, respectful and fun workplace environment, where each team member feels valued: every collab meeting starts and ends with a check-in question; when we met in person before COVID, a different team member was assigned to bring in a delicious breakfast to eat during the weekly meetings; our program director set aside team each meeting to hear feedback from staff.
When DFA staff refer to the youth we engage with, we do not call them “kids” or “children”. We make a point to call them students. This reflects DFA’s commitment to a culture of respect across ages. DFA wants to recognize the important of youth in the organization and celebrate their strengths, their maturity, their contribution to the program.