Source: Sherman Publications

Crossroads wins diversity award

by Andrew Moser

September 07, 2011

With all the talk about living in a global world that is constantly changing, one organization in Oxford is really embracing the challenge of becoming diverse.

Because of all the efforts Crossroads for Youth has put forth over the last few years, they were nominated to receive the Diversity Champion Award from Corp Magazine, a magazine which provides business features, news and profiles with a Michigan emphasis.

Crossroads for Youth Director Dr. Janet McPeek traveled to MGM Grand in Detroit on Tuesday, August 28 to accept the award.

The plaque reads “in recognition of outstanding leadership in diversity and multi-culturalism in the state of Michigan.”

McPeek was thrilled when she found out Crossroads was nominated for the award.

“We are very honored. Corp Magazine is something that is circulated to business all over Michigan and to be recognized for something we have worked very hard on for at least the last 10 years, it is very exciting,” McPeek said. “We are very honored to be recognized.”

“Receiving this award is always an affirmation that you are going in the right direction and that it gives you another boost to even be more committed to what you are doing,” she added.

One area judges were impressed with about Crossroads was the programming it developed centered around diversity within the children’s program they run.

“We do a annual diversity dinner, but in addition on a daily basis and a weekly basis have built a character education program, and in that program really teach inclusion and work with students on being sensitive, not just being aware but having an action plan of how to get perspective and respect on things that make them unique and things that are unique about other people,” McPeek said.

The program also teaches students to put aside each other’s differences in order to value each other. She added the program goes beyond just looking at the typical cultural differences - race, ethnicity and age - and looks take a looks at other differences, such as disabilities, learning styles and economic situations.

In addition to the kids program, Crossroads is working towards building a diverse workforce on their campus grounds.

Crossroads has built in many diversity training programs, and is a active organization in the Michigan Diversity Council and the Oakland County Diversity Council.

Crossroads was nominated for the award by Mercedes Benz Financial, who became aware of Crossroads efforts towards diversity following a meeting of the Michigan Diversity Council in at Mercedes Benz headquarters in Farmington Hills.

“At that meeting, they invited Crossroads for Youth to come in and bring facilitators from our Adventure Center,” McPeek said. “We provided programming to people from all over the state of Michigan, through the team building activities we do, understand diversity from multiple perspectives and how to take that back and apply it in their own workplaces.”

McPeek explained that diversity was important because it is becoming a part of our everyday lives. “We are living in a world that becomes more connected all of the time and because...we are so focused on the best results for any business when everyone is engaged and problem solving, you can’t get everyone engaged unless you learn to appreciate and respect a wide variety of people,” McPeek said.

“If you surround yourself with people exactly like yourself, you don’t get much new information,” McPeek added. “So the more diverse a workforce you can build...it really just generates better solutions.”