Cultural Competence is an Abrigo Priority

27 September 2016 / Uncategorized / 0 Comment

Promoting Cultural Competence and Acceptance

By Vilmara Lucas

“Do you speak Portuguese?” It is the most frequent question asked by new clients at the Abrigo Centre. In fact, communicating with clients in their first language is one of the most powerful methods of achieving cultural competence through counselling and is an essential component of responsive social services organizations, especially for agencies targeting cultural communities like the Abrigo Centre.

Through my student placement work at Abrigo, I now have a greater understanding of the importance of effective communication as essential to building relationships and conveying respect to an individual seeking our assistance. I have witnessed this circle of empowerment happening every day at our agency. Clients often express how they feel welcomed and accepted at Abrigo in the process of having their issues understood and individual needs met.

It has been an enormous privilege for me to be part of the Abrigo Centre team over the past year as I have had the opportunity of not only practicing my professional vocation but also serving my own community in Toronto as an agent of change. I have come to recognize the great work that Abrigo Centre has been doing over the last twenty-six years and I believe that Abrigo will continue to provide outstanding services for many years to come with the dedicated support of its staff, volunteers, sponsors and donors.


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