Students talk about the Latino Leadership Initiative program's value for them in understanding the cultural issues around working with Latino populations.
In May 2015, the Latino Leadership Initiative (LLI) graduated its first cohort of students; they are 23 women and men from all walks of life who now possess strengthened linguistic and cultural competencies to more effectively serve Latino communities in their future life and work.
By mid-century, the majority of the US population will be made up of minorities, predominantly Latinos. To better prepare students to work with this diverse population, Boston College School of Social Work established a Latino Leadership Initiative program within the MSW program.
The LLI bolsters students' linguistic and cultural competencies to work with Latino communities in the U.S. and abroad. A set of foundation and method courses will be taught in Spanish.
Assistant Professor Rocio Calvo, a native of Spain who worked in Latin America prior to joining Boston College School of Social Work, believes that adding a second language to the portfolio of graduating students deepens empathy and expands imagination, both core principles of a Jesuit education.
Calvo's research is on the incorporation of immigrants, and she is particularly interested in the determinants that make Latino immigrants successful in recipient societies.
"Social workers who are able to relate to clients and to work with clients in Spanish without the need of translators, who understand not only the language but the culture and the cultural components, are at a great advantage in serving and relating to this population," says Calvo.
In Fall 2012, Calvo taught the "Diversity and Cross Cultural Issues" course, one of the first of five LLI courses now offered in Spanish.
Students from the first cohort in the Latino Leadership Initiative came together to talk about the value this program will have for them as social workers in understanding the cultural issues around working with Latino populations. Watch the "Student Voices" video testimonials »