November 3, 2000

National Grant Allows National Latino Research Center at Cal State San Marcos to Coordinate Early Childhood Cultural Training Program

A multi-year grant from the Department of Health and Human Services will allow the National Latino Research Center (NLRC) at California State University San Marcos to develop enhanced Head Start training programs for teachers who work with Latino children. The NLRC, Neighborhood House Association, and the Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee on Anti-Poverty (MAAC Project) in San Diego are joint recipients of the four-year cultural competencies grant. The full award is expected to total $598,271; the first year of the project will receive $149,572 in funding.

"We want to focus on bringing cultural awareness and sensitivity to Head Start teachers in San Diego County," says Ron-ald Mize, NLRC associate director. Under the grant, the NLRC will develop cultural competency training programs. This includes developing college and training courses that address Latino traditions, cultures and history, along with a DHHS training module on cross-cultural services (Proyecto Informar). "Our goal through this grant is to develop curricula that are sensitive to cultural experiences and traditions for Head Start teachers," he says. Mize, along with NLRC director Fernando Soriano and Neighborhood House research director Alfonso Rodriguez head the team that will implement the project.

According to Mize, NLRC has a specific mission designed to provide information on issues focusing on Latino populations. The four divisions within NLRC handle services, research, training and data dissemination. The NLRC promotes increased research and training of researchers who are studying Latino populations. The Center has a national scope that addresses all Latino subgroups, including Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Central and South Americans. The Center is committed to areas such as health, mental health, education, social issues, housing, labor and employment, and immigration.

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