Honestly, each week I fall more and more in love with London. The people are amazing, and the community is so diverse. Everyday after work I go out into town to try to find something fun to do and everyday I am amazed. London is one of the most accepting cities I have ever visited. There are festivals going on everywhere and holidays being celebrated in the streets. Interestingly, I didn’t expect to find the same feeling in the city, in my workplace. This is because of the type of field I am in. CASA is a gateway treatment center. This means anyone on the street can walk in and receive treatment.
So far one of my favorite things is watching the different types of people that are suffering with addiction. Due to being raised in a wealthy area, my perception of an addict is much different than the reality. In the center, people are coming in from all over Islington. From people living on the streets, to lawyers who just got off work, there is no set type of person who can classify as an alcoholic. Even my coworkers all have various backgrounds and personalities. Some have worked in the forensic side of addiction and some are certified counselors. Yet, each person that walks into the center is treated the same: like a human.
I feel diversity is often looked at as a blessing in disguise. Either it causes many issues or it makes the environment more intriguing. Through CASA, I have learned the power in diversity. When a new client walks in, there is power in seeing them visibly relax as they look around the room and realize that their own perception of an alcoholic may be a little warped. The environment is meant to make each individual feel welcome and comfortable, thus the diversity is incorporated among the staff. This creates an authentic environment.
Every other Thursday afternoon the company hires a psychologist to come in and work with the staff on difficult clients or their own issues. This is where I have truly learned about my colleagues and how much they value each other’s opinions. It is in this session that all diversity is put aside and instead, minds come together to solve a problem. This past session, I was asked about alcoholism in America and ended up discussing the differences between the drinking culture within religions, location, and countries.
It’s hard to talk about differences during my experience at CASA because there haven’t been any major diversity obstacles. Mainly I’ve just learned about what true acceptance means and the value of your peer’s opinions. I’ve learned about looking at a person, knowing their history and yet still treating them as a close friend. I thought I understood how to accomplish true acceptance but it wasn’t until coming to such a diverse organization and country that I grasped how difficult it could be. I am very fortunate to be working at a company that not only values its’ staff but also their clients and works to create a positive environment that all can relate too.