Parents In Community Action, Inc.
Parents In Community Action, Inc. (PICA) is a private, nonprofit agency serving nearly 2,500 children and families with Head Start and Early Head Start programs. The agency’s clients and workforce represent a broad spectrum of cultural, ethnic, and religious heritage.
As a child development program for low-income families, PICA Head Start helps children up to five years of age boost their social and learning skills. To date, the results have been impressive. For example, a recent assessment of Minneapolis kindergarten students showed that PICA Head Start children scored eight to 24 points higher on literacy tests than students who had not been in the program.
Like its students and clients, the majority of PICA Head Start employees come from minority backgrounds. To help the organization better manage its diverse workforce, Gray Plant Mooty presented its signature theater-based training program, “Your Face Here,” in partnership with Theatre at Work, which was moderated by a principal in GPM’s Employment Law practice group. According to Candee Melin, PICA Head Start’s operations director, the theater-based approach helped employees quickly grasp the ramifications of ethnic and racial bias.
“The play was presented as part of our annual in-service training, and it had a huge impact on staff,” she said. “Besides the content, the delivery was a creative alternative to the lecture format-type workshops that are usually presented. The format was also appealing as an alternative learning tool for adults who learned better visually, or who had language barriers.”
Marysue Moses, vice president and CFO of Theatre at Work, said the “Your Face Here” training session at PICA Head Start was an all-around success. “It was the best performance and the best audience we have ever had,” she said.
In addition to the diversity workshop, GPM also serves as a legal resource to PICA Head Start on employment law, policy development, and nonprofit management.
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