Trauma Informed Care
Whereas asking, “What brought you to the U.S.?” is a great question under normal circumstances, it’s not the same for those seeking asylum. Since these families had to flee for their lives and also experienced many traumas and stresses on the road to the border, asking a question like that can bring difficult memories to the surface and force them to relive the trauma.
Focusing on the present and future allows those memories to become part of their past so that they can begin to heal. We want to allow their past to be their story which they can choose to share – or not – as they see fit.
This is a tenet of trauma-informed care which DASH Network implements to respond appropriately to those who are recovering from traumatic experiences (this is covered in more depth in DASH Trainings 2 and 3).
Instead of asking about what brought them to the U.S., see the list below for recommended questions and conversation starters.
Note: Rather than using “your country” or “your home,” it is better to use the name of the country when discussing the place they are from, since they likely see the United States as their new home and country.
- Do you have any brothers or sisters?
- What do you like to do in your free time?
- Do you have a favorite sport?
- Do you play a musical instrument?
- Can you draw or paint?
- What kinds of jobs have you had?
- What food do you miss the most?
- Is there a national dish where you are from?
- What are some of your cultural celebrations and traditions?
- When you were a child, what were your home and family like?
- Did you like school? What was it like? What was your favorite subject?
- Who was your best friend? Describe him/her.
- Who is the best person you have ever met?
- What are your hopes for the future?
Background Check and Child Safety Requirements
DASH pays for a background check for all volunteers as standard procedure. For volunteers who will be working with children, an online Child Safety Course is required.
Photos and Social Media
We ask volunteers to refrain from posting pictures of residents on social media. Each resident has left their home because they were in some sort of danger. With our very interconnected world, it is simply too risky to put their faces out there for anyone and everyone to see. In addition, please do not take photos of faces without permission, even if you do not plan to post, as that can be triggering for some. Thank you for your understanding.
Gifts for Residents
Please refrain from giving residents money or other gifts without first checking with a DASH staff member. If you observe a need during your time with residents, you are welcome to communicate with staff about it. In general, there may already be a plan in place to meet the need, so we would invite you to voice any concerns and ask questions before acting.