Cuentos de la Vida: Exploring Cultural Heritage through Storytelling

Period of Performance: 09/01/2012 - 08/31/2013


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

3-C Institute for Social Development
DURHAM, NC 27713
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the Latino population totals over 46 million people, with projections indicating Latino individuals will account for nearly 1 in 3 U.S. residents by the year 2050 (USCB, 2008). Currently, nearly 40 percent of the Latino population is under the age of 20 (Ramirez and de la Cruz, 2003). Concomitant with this population growth is a pressing need to address significant social-emotional, behavioral, and academic disparities between Latino children and non-Latino white children (Farkas, 2003;USDHHS, 2001;Wright and Troop, 2005). Perceptions of a closed school community have been found to create or exacerbate problems with academic performance, educational aspirations, and behavioral-emotional functioning for Latino youth (Romero and Roberts, 2003;Szalacha et al., 2003;Vega et al., 1995). Intervention and prevention research suggests social acceptance of Latino students and integration into the school community are key environmental factors that promote positive functioning (Ibaqez et al., 2004;Suarez-Orozco and Suarez-Orozco, 1995;Valencia, 2002). The goal of this Phase II SBIR project is to continue the research and development of a school-based cultural heritage curriculum for upper elementary school students, Cultural Heritage Stories for Kids: Latino Series (hereafter CHSK:LS), to create the full product, including a story library of traditional and acculturation stories from different Latino cultures (e.g., Mexican American, Puerto Rican, Cuban), presented by professional Latino storytellers in both English and Spanish. CHSK:LS will provide school professionals with an innovative effective universal classroom intervention specifically designed to celebrate Latino cultural heritage, promote understanding of cultural diversity in the classroom, and engender a more integrated, accepting classroom environment. During Phase I, the CHSK:LS prototype materials were evaluated very positively by school professionals as well as parents and children. However, specific suggestions for Phase II development were noted. The first aim of Phase II will be to revise and extend based on the feedback attained during Phase I, Phase II stakeholder input, and expert advice of Advisory Board members. Once the CHSK:LS product is completed, the second aim of Phase II will be to conduct a rigorous test of the product efficacy via a randomized treatment-control experimental design assessing change as a function of participation in CHSK-LS for two sets of outcomes: (a) individual student-level social, behavioral, emotional, and academic functioning at school and (b) overall classroom climate. The third aim will be to the finalize all product materials based on Phase II findings and evaluations from product testing, package all components for commercialization, and ready the product for broad-scale dissemination through our commercialization partner. The proposed Phase II SBIR project will result in a highly innovative intervention package with substantial competitive advantages, providing schools with a much needed evidence-based intervention package to promote multicultural awareness and integration, and address behavioral health disparities for Latino students.