On the Clock: Erin Head
Summit County is a real crucible when it comes to cultural change. As our fair area’s face becomes more multicultural by the day, the challenge to create a community that’s an inclusive mix of all nationalities and cultures falls on us all.But did you know there’s an actual plan to make that happen?There is … and making that plan an interwoven part of our quickly diversifying society is up to Erin Head.By way of a four-year grant from Colorado Trust, Head is the new “integration liaison” – she’s charged with taking the comprehensive integration plan created via community brain trust and making it a reality out in the neighborhoods of Summit County.
“The face of Summit County is definitely going global. Recognizing that and really celebrating that is a big part of the plan,” Head said. And what’s a plan without specifics?The integration plan Head is working to implement has three core areas: education and employment, cultural competency and leadership development. With each area, the plan lists abundant points of emphasis – 29 goals within education and employment, 17 under cultural competency, and seven under leadership and development.”Certainly it’s a very large plan, so just identifying priority areas and really looking at first steps is really key,” Head said.So far, she’s been on the job for a little more than a month, and “right now, in the beginning, it’s all about getting to know everyone in the community,” she adds.And in getting to know the familiar faces and friendly folks around town, Head is quickly realizing that a big part of her job “is really about recognizing local heroes,” she said.
“The plan comes from the community, so I’m always on the hunt for leaders in the community.””There’s an amazing group of people around here. The more people I meet around Summit County, I’m just so incredibly impressed with all the dedication they have and the passion that they have to make this place amazing. It already is, but these heroes want to continue it.”Head’s position falls under the guidance of the Family and Intercultural Resource Center, the nonprofit family and immigrant support organization so vital to advancing Summit County’s cultural integration goals. Under the guidance of Christina Carlson, the FIRC will oversee Head’s progress and shepherd the integration plan into place.”(The FIRC) is such a great group of dedicated people with a lot of heart, and passion for everything that they do,” Head said. “It’s inspiring to work with all of these individuals.”The 28-year-old Head has more than a professional connection to the FIRC – her husband Brandon also works there as well.
Q: How did you develop such a yen for advancing cultural diversity?”(Cultural diversity) has always been a part of me. It’s where my heart has always been. Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted to travel. And I have wanted to be connected with people, and to celebrate cultures, and to help people recognize that our cultural universals are key.”Q; What’s Summit County like as a place to implement such a culturally-evolved plan?”The more I connect with people (here in Summit County), the more I am inspired. People here are incredibly intelligent, and open-minded, and this is such a positive place to be.”
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