Parent leadership training is for parents and caregivers to organize, prioritize and create an action plan to identify and then accomplish their goals. These can be life goals, or goals for the community as a whole. Through this training, you will be given the tools to make a plan and discover your sense of direction. You will become stronger advocates for yourself, your family and your community. You’ll also meet others on the same journey who will hold you accountable and cheer you on. And you’ll be a voice for the experiences of others raising young children in our community. 

What is Parent Leadership Training? 

Parent Leadership Training is a facilitated training focused on goals and leadership. We use a training model called Self, Family, & Team. Training is 1.5 hours each week, and we normally meet for 7-8 consecutive weeks. If you can’t make it every week, that’s ok! We will fill you in. All we ask is you give your best effort and show up as much as you can.

Why Self, Family, & Team? 

Self, Family, Team is a family organizing model developed by Community Organizing & Family Issues. The model uses parent’s strengths and commitment to their children and to their community. The training covers tools to help parents make positive change in their own lives, their families and their communities. It emphasizes the commonalities (rather than the differences) between family and community leadership. Ultimately, we thrive together in a parent-led community of support celebrating the milestones of each individual and collective journey.

Who leads the training?

The Training is led by local Oak Park parents! Let’s meet them!

Whitney: I’m a parent of two kids (12 years old and 10 years old). This will be my 9th year living in Oak Park. I work as a Community Ambassador and training facilitator for the Collaboration for Early Childhood and am actively involved with Families First | La Familia Primero, a parent-led group supported b\ the Collaboration. I’m also a preschool teacher with the Park District of Oak Park, currently teaching Nature Preschool at Austin Gardens. I also spend a lot of time in the local special education and disability circles, as my younger child is on the autism spectrum. Between both jobs I spend a lot of time in the community (either in person or virtually!) and I really enjoy meeting other parents and sharing resources.

“After struggling with my youngest at school, this group supported me in so many ways, including pointing me to the right resources through the Collaboration (for Early Childhood) to get our family as much help as possible. I feel beyond grateful for them” – Parent Leadership Training Participant and mom of 3 (12, 8 and 4 year old)

Azucena: I am a parent of three kids (13 years old, 10 years old and 8 years old). This is my 8th year living in Oak Park. I work as a Community Ambassador and training facilitator with the Collaboration for Early Childhood. I am involved in the parent-led group Families First | La Familia Primero supported by the Collaboration for Earl\ Childhood. I am a teacher with the Park District of Oak Park, currently teaching in Spanish Preschool. I enjoy working with families, sharing resources, and meeting parents. Looking forward to meeting you and sharing more about the training!

Mary: I’m an Oak Park native, elementary educator, and mom of three bilingual kids (8, 6 and 6). I work as an ESL teacher in Berwyn and I am also a board member of D97’s MPAC (Multilingual Parent Advisory Committee.) This is my second year helping as a Parent Ambassador of Parent Leadership Training with Families First | La Familia Primero. I have almost 20 years of experience working within the education field. I am passionate about strengthening the relationship between home, school, and the community. I also enjoy sharing resources and helping parents in our community to use their voices to become leaders as well.

“This group gave me a supportive community during an especially challenging time. I needed encouragement and accountability and to know I wasn’t alone.” – Parent Leadership Training participant and mom of a 5-year-old and 3-year-old

Sylvia: I am a parent of two kids (11 year and 9 year olds) and this is my 17th year living in Oak Park. I’ve been involved with Families First-Familia Primero as a Community Ambassador and facilitator of the Training, and a board member of D97’s MPAC (Multilingual Parent Advisor􀁜 Committee.) This community role helped me build friendships and connections in a place where I had no ties. As a stay-at-home-mom of 10 years, now I am building my career as a life coach and mediator. Hope this training becomes the source of inspiration & finding directions for you as much as it did for many parents and their families, including myself and my family. Looking forward to meeting you!

What happens at training? 

Each week we will learn different tools to help us achieve our goals. We practice each tool through different exercises like, one-on-one conversations, journaling, or group discussion. We use Zoom to meet, and normally keep in-touch between training dates through email, text messages and Slack.

Why do we do this? 

We believe parents are a child’s first and most important teacher. We hope training participants gain new skills to help themself and their family. We want to create an engaging and interactive community with each other. At the end of training we hope to continue to work together to set a team goal, and we support each other to complete it while always keeping up the goal. Overall we want to provide this training to give you the tools and confidence to advocate for your child, family and our community.

Who is Families First | La Familia Primero?

We are a parent-led team supported by the Collaboration for Early Childhood. The team formed after the 2019 Parent Leadership Training cohort. We work together together to build stronger families and make our community better – especially for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Learn more about them here.

How is the Collaboration for Early Childhood Involved? What is the Collaboration? 

The Collaboration for Early Childhood is an organization focused on improving early childhood systems for our community. Our Family Engagement work empowers families to be effective leaders and decision-makers in the education of their children. Programs and training, like this one, work to build the capacity of local organizations and parents to lead these efforts.

“The group was instrumental in giving me the courage to take actual steps towards reaching my goals. It was comforting to be with other community members, who like me, are trying to accomplish goals while raising good humans. The team leaders were great and I’m grateful I took it when I did.” – Parent Leadership Participant and parent to an awesome toddler

View this information as a PDF in English or Spanish

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