2017 Family Engagement and Cultural Effectiveness Conference






October 30-November 3, 2017 | Hilton Hawaiian Village, Waikiki Beach Resort

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.—Frederick Douglass

Since Head Start inception more than 50 years ago, family engagement has always been a pillar of the program. Underlying the Head Start focus on the whole child is the understanding that parents are the primary educators and advocates of their child. Moreover, when parents engage with their child, they not only improve the child’s happiness and success—but theirs as well.

The Family Engagement and Cultural Effectiveness conference is designed to celebrate the different cultures, traditions and practices that are reflected in the modern family. In so doing, participants learn how to use the strengths and attributes of culture to aid a child’s own successful walk through the world.

In this conference, nationally and internationally known practitioners, researchers and motivational speakers share their knowledge, to teach us and to learn from us, about parent engagement through the lens of cultural awareness.

Keynote Speakers


Dr. Walter S. Gilliam

Opening Keynote – He is the Director of The Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy and Associate Professor of Child Psychiatry and Psychology at the Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine.

Venus Rosete-Mederos
Venus is best described as a family and community advocate with a pioneering spirit.  She possesses a background working with non-profit organizations, government agencies, private/public school systems and has founded several community grassroots initiatives such as the Neighborhood Place of Wailuku, a family strengthening agency, helping to prevent child abuse and neglect; the Valley Isle Keiki Fest, a free educational family event that now occurs annually under the leadership of the Valley Isle Kiwanis Club; the Ho’oikaika Partnership and many other community partnerships educating children and families to be safe, healthy and successful in life. 
 Silvia Esqueda
Silvia Esqueda is a bilingual/bicultural licensed therapist, who has worked for over sixteen years with Latino parents and their children. She is the national lead facilitator for Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors program, and a consultant for multiple non-profit organizations. She is a trainer, conference speaker, and writer of Latino immigrant issues as it relates to education and mental health.


Hear from one of our closing session parent speakers, Sona Rubenian.


Pre-Conference Sessions

Session #1 – Cultural Humility and Effectiveness:  What’s Personality Got to Do with It?
Dr. Sheryl White


Cultural humility is a lifelong journey that starts with increasing understanding of one’s self and effectively managing ourselves in relation to others. The most well intended actions and plans can get derailed in the midst of cultural misunderstandings and clashes. Add to that the complexity of individual and personality differences and it’s easy to see how an experience unintentionally could leave a child, parent or staff member feeling hurt, instead of helped and open to engagement and growth.  Learn More



Session #2 – Using Learning Stories as a Pathway to Engage Families in Authentic Dialogue

Wendy Lee & Dr. Annie White


More than just a tool or a format for observing young children, Learning Stories are part of a philosophy for pedagogy and an innovative approach for assessment, with a huge international following. Grounded in socio-cultural theory and narrative inquiry, the Learning Story approach honors the child, family, teacher and community. Using Learning Stories, early childhood educators write from the heart, in a way that engages families, while also connecting to required assessment indicators. Learn More


The Vision

All children, regardless of their circumstance at birth, deserve a full and prosperous life.

The Mission

  • Support high-impact Head Start programs for children and adults by creating opportunities for collaboration, networking and information sharing.
  • Unite with state and national Head Start organizations to ensure regulatory and budget outcomes that support our work.
  • Champion the message that every child and family who succeeds makes their community a better place.
  • Provide resources to assist our members in compliance and professional development.

Contact Us

2131 Capitol Avenue, Suite 307
Sacramento, CA 95816



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