LHU Professors/STEP Head Start

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -  Dr. Lynette Reitz and Dr. Steven Granich of the Lock Haven University Social Work department presented a cultural diversity workshop to twenty-nine Head Start employees in Williamsport, PA on September 30, 2013.

The purpose of the workshop was to improve the cultural competence skills of the home-based employees who work with families and children in Clinton and Lycoming counties. The mission of STEP Lycoming-Clinton Head Start is to foster hope, growth, self-sufficiency and social competence in children and their families in partnership with parents and the community. Some of the many services provided by Head Start to families are providing individualized family partnerships, goal setting and personal support.

The workshop consisted of a morning and afternoon segment. The morning program was comprised of an introduction to cultural competence and cultural sensitivity, covering the topics of culture, prejudice, racism, ethnicity, self-awareness, and cross cultural communication. The afternoon was spent covering the application of the principles of cultural competence, consisting of role plays on cultural competence, knowledge of diversity in Clinton and Lycoming counties, and understanding of multi-racial issues, African American culture, and poverty. 

An evaluation at the end of the workshop reflected positive comments about the presentations. One participant stated, “The workshop provided me the opportunity to think more about the families I serve. Both professors kept us on our toes and thinking.” Another Head Start employee related, “I really liked the format. It was open and inviting, leaving opportunity for discussion and interaction.”  

Lock Haven University is a member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), the largest provider of higher education in the commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 250 degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study. Nearly 405,000 system alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.