Campus: CSU Northridge -- October 05, 2001
Head Start, CSUN Partnership Addresses Special Concerns of Hispanic Community
Cal State Northridge has started its second year of a four-year, $600,000
grant-funded project aimed at enhancing the quality of Head Start services
to the Hispanic community.
The grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration
on Children, Youth, and Families benefits Head Start's largely Hispanic
clientele by funding programs targeted at bridging cultures and, in particular,
increasing staff members' understanding about the Hispanic culture.
CSUN was one of seven universities nationwide to begin such programs in
2000-2001. Audrey Clark, CSUN family environmental sciences professor,
heads this project.
"We're proud to be involved in this project," Clark said. "This
project marks Head Start's expansion in its work with four-year universities,
and it allows us to address the special educational needs of families
and staff with Hispanic backgrounds.
"Head Start is more than just an organization preparing children
for school," Clark continued. "It's also an organization that
provides ways for adults to move upward economically and socially through
a combination of work and education."
During the program's first year at CSUN, more than 40 Head Start employees
were accepted as project participants. In addition, a stipend program
was established to assist students in their academic goals during unemployed
summer months. The Family Environmental Sciences Department began offering
a weekend child development course and child care administration courses
for working students. At the same time, the department introduced two
experimental courses-the Head Start seminar and The Helping Professional.
In its second year, project planners intend to provide first semester
tuition to Head Start employees transferring from a community college
to CSUN in Spring 2002 in order to provide seamless service between community
colleges and the university.
Three collaborating Head Start delegate agencies-Child Care Resource Center,
Volunteers of America-Los Angeles and the Latin American Civic Association-operate
approximately 40 sites in the San Fernando Valley. Eighty to 90 percent
of the children and families served by these agencies are from Hispanic
backgrounds. Almost half of the parents in these families speak only Spanish.