Multicultural Liaison Worker Mission and history
We are professionally trained, multilingual and multicultural members of the VSB educational team. As team members, we work with school administrators, staff, students and parents to facilitate and enhance communication with a view to enabling students to reach their potential.
To accomplish this mandate involves work in three main areas:
We advocate for students and their families.
For all intents and purposes we become the "voice" of the students and their families until they are empowered to advocate for themselves. This includes speaking on their behalf as well as facilitating communication to ensure a proactive stance – preventing ‘problems’ before they become crises; and enabling fair, equitable access to programs and services for students and families.
We build bridges among cultures, languages and educational systems.
Facilitating and increasing cross-cultural understanding and awareness serves both advocacy and educational learning purposes for all. This is accomplished on a daily basis both individually and in groups, as well as for specifically focused events such as parent/teacher/student conferences, specialist/parent meetings, celebratory events and other school and community events.
Knowledge and understanding is a high priority need if newcomers to our city, schools and society are to feel they belong. We support this adaptation and acculturation process by mediating the message so that all parties - schools, communities and families – understand and can feel empowered, and have their needs met. This is accomplished by providing cultural interpretation of intent, both orally and in print.
- Over three decades of dedicated support for many of Vancouver’s ethnic communities
- In 1977 the first five Multicultural Liaison Workers (MCLWs), began their work in Vancouver schools, thanks to a Canada Works Grant
- By September 1978 funds had been raised to hire 13 additional MCLWs
- In 2011 there are 24 working full and part time for 10 months of the year.