In 2016, La Puerta Abierta (LPA) transitioned from its previous name of Intercultural Coalition for Family Wellness (ICFamWell) to more accurately represent its mission and purpose in the community: “To improve access to quality, culturally and trauma-informed mental health support in the immigrant and refugee community through collaboration, training and service”.
Dignity: Respect for the worth of every person, recognition and commitment to the value of all individuals and perspectives.
Collaboration: LPA’s mission depends upon its relationships with other community members, providers and organizations that are part of the overall fabric of our society. LPA’s collaborative work is characterized by trust, transparency, and commitment to the highest standards of learning and care.
Integrity: Honesty, justice, and consistency in all relationships.
Compassion: LPA’s work across all communities is offered in a spirit of empathy, love, and concern for all.
Stewardship: LPA prides itself in the efficient and thoughtful use of resources that reflects its commitment to population health as well as the health of our planet.
Before Intercultural Coalition for Family Wellness was established as a formal organization in 2005, its founder (Cathi Tillman) and numerous colleagues had spent several years traveling to Ecuador, providing training support to a growing movement in the mental health field which had its reach in other parts of Latin America: to shift systems of mental health care to focus on whole families and the complexity of dynamics in these relational systems. Our international colleagues continue the focus of their work with families in underserved communities: families who are struggling and suffering due to poverty, addiction, violence, migration and political oppression; families who do not have the resources to access the therapeutic support which could alleviate their pain and provide strategies to prevent future harm and instill hope for generations to come.
While the history of ICFamWell is rooted in its international work, the establishment of La Puerta Abierta (The Open Door), initiated in 2010, has enabled the organization to better serve vulnerable communities in the Delaware Valley. The vision of the locally-based work of La Puerta Abierta began from the realization that a large part of the local Philadelphia community had been excluded from mental health support and services due to various obstacles, including language, funding, legal status, cultural differences, and the stigma many members of immigrant communities associate with mental health challenges.
“La Puerta Abierta fills a huge gap in community health by serving a client population with limited access to formal systems of care. By staying rooted in the community it serves, La Puerta Abierta stays responsive to changing needs of clients and families while maintaining a steady focus on trust-building and cultural humility. LPA measures success by clients’ finding healing resources in a safe space, recognizing themselves as a resource for others in their communities, or simply coming back to engage in difficult, personal work. For social workers in training, there is no better place to learn compassion, mutuality and social justice”
Elaine Weisman, MSW, MPH