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Understood.org hosts summer Day of Understanding

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At Understood.org, our mission is to shape a world for difference — so the 70 million people who learn and think differently can thrive. We focus on providing resources and tools that help people anticipate the barriers that come with neurodiversity. Then they can confidently and competently address them.

We know that confidence leads to resilience and to a willingness to try new things. And this is critical to thriving. 

But to inspire confidence in the people we serve, we also need to focus on inspiring confidence in ourselves. Earlier this summer, we hosted our second Day of Understanding. Our entire team spent the day learning from external experts and advocates about building confidence in ourselves, our teams, and our mission.

Confidence in ourselves

LeDerick Horne, a poet, speaker, advocate, education consultant, and co-host of the Black and Dyslexic Podcast, joined us to share his perspective around building confidence in ourselves.  

In discussing his own early struggles, Horne described how he battled the stigma of being diagnosed with dyslexia and how he overcame a number of barriers, ultimately transforming his educational and professional experiences for the better. He also shared tangible tips around self-empowerment, including:

  • Practicing self-care: making time for exercise, meditation, and things that “fill your cup”

  • Planning ahead: setting aside some time each week to make goals for the upcoming months or year, and to plan how to reach those goals 

  • Knowing yourself: gaining a deeper understanding of your strengths, challenges, and approaches to problem-solving

With each tip, Horne weaved in his personal experiences and examples from history and civil rights movements to inspire us to be our best selves — and in turn, do our best work. Jen Spindler, senior manager of ecosystems at Understood.org, said, “Hearing Lederick talk about his struggles as a kid really resonated with me and what I’ve seen kids go through. His path to confidence meant building on his strengths and making his educational experience work for him.”

Confidence in our team

The next part of the day featured a confidence workshop. Facilitator Dr. Alicia Hare led the activity, asking team members to share moments when they felt confident and what that confidence felt like. Different employees shared proud memories related to work, sports, academics, art, relationships, and more, noting the feelings of preparedness, support, and empowerment that often came with feeling confident. Each group also discussed how they could share that confidence with Understood, and what the organization can do to help support them. 

“Building confidence is a verb, so no matter where you are on that scale — whether you don't feel confident, or you feel super confident — it is a process to build for yourself, and it is a process to build for your team,” Hare said. “It’s an investment, but it’s an investment worthy of you all and worthy of the work you’re doing.” 

Confidence in our mission

Our mission at Understood.org is to shape the world for difference. But we can’t do that alone. It takes believing in ourselves and in our teams to have confidence in our mission and work together. 

Our scavenger hunt around New York City allowed teams to explore different historical sites and places of inspiration. By learning more about each other and about what drives us to make a difference, our team found connection and confidence in the work we do together. 

“Some team members in my group were new to me, and some I’ve known since I started working at Understood,” said Max MacKenzie, content producer at Understood. “It was inspiring to see how well we all collaborated, and how much support we gave to one another.”

By dedicating time and space to practice confidence within our own community, our Understood team came away with a deeper understanding of ourselves and our colleagues — and excitement and inspiration to continue our work around helping neurodivergent people thrive. Understood.org will continue to foster this knowledge and these skills as we host future Days of Understanding.

To learn more about working at Understood.org, visit https://www.understood.org/join-our-team. To lend your expertise and to partner with us for future Understood.org events, visit https://www.understood.org/our-partners.

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