Parent Leaders Graduate

by Adzua Agyapon | June 17, 2009 1:36 PM | | Comments (6)

HPIM0979.JPGTironda Newton plans to open an after-school center for city kids. She learned the skills needed to set her plans into motion from a newly revived parent leadership program.

On Tuesday evening, she and 16 other New Haven parents graduated from the New Haven Parent Leadership Training Institute at City Hall.

The institute is a collaboration by the Connecticut Commission on Children Family Civics and Christian Community Action. The program seeks to empower parents to be leaders and “have a voice in their community,” said Nilda Aponte (at right in photo beside Newton), one of the students in the class. Aponte has been deeply involved with the parent training and advocacy group Teach Our Children. She and hopes to use what’s she learned in the class to advance the group’s efforts.

“We learned to navigate the system,” Ponte said. Participants learned about the city and state political systems, the role of the media, public policy, community organizing and more. The parents had class for three hours every Tuesday for 20 weeks at the Hospital of St. Raphael.

In an effort to help parents meet the demanding schedule, the Leadership Institute ran a program for their kids, called the Children’s Leadership Training Initiative. The program gained high marks from Newton, who is making plans for her new after-school program, to be named the Youth With Vision Recreation Center.

“After class, I could see them talking with the other children about what they’d learned” said Newton.

Her daughter, Nandi, went through the Children’s Leadership Training Institute and spoke on behalf of her classmates at the ceremony. The students presented a quilt to Elaine Zimmerman, the executive director of the Connecticut Commission on Children. The quilt is a patchwork of what leadership means to the each of the children. Zimmerman plans to share the quilt with others by turning each of the tiles into post cards.

HPIM0974.JPGIn her remarks to the graduating class, Elaine Zimmerman, the executive director of the Connecticut Commission on Children, told parents how excited she was to have them at the table because “parents were the missing constituency for family public policy.”

“We need your vision,” she said. “Your voice matters so much and now it matters even more,” she added. “Parents are the polish for just about everything.”

Started in 1997, the New Haven Parent Leadership Institute was reborn this year after a six-year hiatus. All the parents who participated had to apply and interview for a spot in the class. On June 24, parents from 13 cities across the state will have a joint graduation at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

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Posted by: Yul A. Watley | June 17, 2009 2:22 PM

Angela Watley, Job well done sis. Your brother is proud of you.

Posted by: Hood Rebel | June 18, 2009 12:02 PM

This is a small but good start to engage parents. How can we grow this efficiently and expeditiously?

Posted by: S Grant | June 18, 2009 3:05 PM

This is a marvelous program and the need for more Parent involvement is essential to make a difference in our schools, our cities and how our local and state governments work...Kudos to all and I too thank Christian Community Action for affording me the opportunity to participate and graduate from this program!!!

Posted by: Peggy | June 18, 2009 4:54 PM

This is a great program and both the organizers and participants deserve our thanks for making our community a better place to live. Congratulations to one (Tironda) and all!

Posted by: Anne-Marie | June 18, 2009 4:57 PM

Congratulations! You were a fabulous group to work with and I'm looking forward to hearing about your impact in the community. Your willingness to stand up and make a difference is inspiring. I'll see you on the 24th.

Posted by: hurtz [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 19, 2009 7:22 AM

this sounds like a good program. why was it on a six year hiatus? How was it "reborn"? Is there any information that the program works?

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