Policy Resource

Minnesota's Cross-Cultural Leadership Action Program

Feb 9, 2016

Minnesota's Cross-Cultural Leadership Action Program (C-CLAP) brings cultural communities together to develop the capacity to promote school readiness through advocacy and civic engagement.

In 2005, Ready 4K, a nonprofit early childhood advocacy group, started the Hmong Leadership Development and Mentoring Program. Since then, dozens of Hmong leaders have been trained to understand the importance of policy changes to ensure school readiness, particularly in the Hmong community where 80% of children are not proficient at kindergarten entry.

In 2008, this successful program was broadened to create the Cross-Cultural Leadership Action Program (C-CLAP), as a partnership between Ready 4K and the Early Childhood Resource and Training Center. In January 2012, the organization Resources for Child Caring (RCC) acquired Ready 4 K and rebranded the organization with a new name, Think Small. Think Small has continued to engineer C-CLAP without any major modifications to the program curriculum.

C-CLAP focuses on developing leaders from the Somali, American Indian, Latino, African American, and Southeast Asian communities. Participants are generally parents of young children, although some are other relatives or child care providers. The goal of the program is to equip leaders with the information and skills necessary to promote early childhood education and advocate for changes that improve the school readiness of young children in their communities. The curriculum is based on the concept that an understanding of cultural systems and cultural values facilitates learning. The nine modules involve at least 48 hours of training on cultural competency in early childhood, research, policy and advocacy, community organizing, and media relations. The curriculum includes activities such as contacting legislators and writing letters to the editor.

Graduates of C-CLAP have used the information to train others and continue to be active on behalf of young children in their community. Follow-up contacts are made every six months to provide any support needed. Although C-CLAP primarily serves the Twin Cities area, with a Somali group in St. Cloud, program administrators hope to eventually spread it across the state. Funding is currently provided by several private and corporate foundations.

Updated November 2013

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