The Value of Lived Experience

February 9, 2023

We all come to the table with unique life experiences that have shaped our thoughts, values, decisions, and whole-being. Lived experience can bring a distinct and invaluable lens to the work of ending family homelessness that’s being done at Bridge of Hope.

Naturally, the process of embedding cultural humility within all of the work that we do requires new ideas to be thought of, reconstruction of current framework, and openness of viewing things through a new lens. For some time, there has been a focus on tracking race, diversifying the network, and diving into spaces where we can learn more about the history of housing and race. We will continue to do this. Alongside that, here is an invitation to welcome learning about other life experiences that not only can help with increasing connection to families being served, but to one another within Bridge of Hope.

What this means is continuing to walk the journey of life-long learning and cultural humility? How do we do that at Bridge of Hope?

This could include, but is not limited to learning more about:

  • How someone navigated being a single parent
  • What it was like for a person who was raised by a single parent
  • How having a parent with a mental health diagnosis impacts a family
  • How not being raised by either biological parent shapes a person’s identity
  • How does being bi-racial or multi-racial effect how someone moves through the world?
  • In what ways did socio-economic status growing up influence financial decisions someone currently makes?

Some of the points listed above, may be experiences that you have personally had, someone you know has had, are likely some experiences of Neighboring Families. Because of this, it is crucial that we begin to raise value in considering multiple layers of lived experiences. As Bridge of Hope National continues to focus on creating ways we can cultivate learnings through this widened perspective, I challenge you all to start stepping into this lens on your own, if you have not already. Are you valuing lived experience of a single mother on your board or staff? How can you elevate her voice? Are you valuing a staff member who grew up in poverty? How might you elevate his voice?

How are you going to intentionally welcome this new lens?

Rachelle Morgan
Director of Cultural Humility and Network Enrichment


The Value of Lived Experience