Turn Turmoil Into Action

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Editorial, Opinion

Turn Turmoil Into Action

By Emanuela Palmares

Many in the community have reached out to me to talk about a feeling of uncertainty for the future, helplessness as to what 2017 could bring… Some were very engaged in the last election and unhappy with the results, or could not participate but were following the process closely. Others who were not previously engaged in the community are now eager to become involved; most are parents.

To the parents, I recommended making part of their New Year’s resolutions to take time once a week for 20 weeks to acquire the tools and the support they need to turn their turmoil into action. I recommended that they consider taking part in a Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI) course.

The 20-week course also includes instruction on understanding personal history and its impact on perceptions of leadership, thriving and working with diversity, assessing and defining problems, along with thinking critically, using the media, public speaking, using benchmarks and outcome measures, forming useful coalitions and building community, working with and how to engage the opposition, understanding policy and municipal budgets and becoming familiar with city, state and federal law.

The cornerstones of the program are respect, validation and a belief that when the tools of democracy are understood, the public will become active participants in communities.

The public is increasingly alienated from government. Most parents are deeply concerned about the impact of schools, community and the environment on their children, but they don’t know how systems function or how decisions are made within the public policy and budget domains. PLTI is a safe space in which one can learn about the systems and become an informed citizen or change agent in their community.

Adults raising children, including mothers, fathers, grandparents and stepparents, are the target audience of the program. But you don’t need to be a parent to be in the class; you simply need to care about improving systems for children.

Parents are selected on individual merit based on their application and interview. Some applicants are self-referred. Others are referred by PLTI graduates, religious institutions, schools or community agencies. The PLTI strengthens a diverse constituency of parents who can access and utilize community assets to meet parent-defined goals.

Parent graduates serve as mentors for the next class of students. Parents participate, advise, speak and mentor other parents and programs seeking to work with parents as partners. The design team that sponsors the PLTI initiative in the community also helps bring about change.

Each year, Tribuna is proud to support the PLTI program’s graduating class, be a part of the curriculum as one of its many presenters and document parents as they gain self-confidence in using their skills to create change. More children today in our community have parents who participate more in their lives as advocates and decision-makers because of PLTI and that will be the most powerful game changer in our future.

So, in 2017, in your list of New Year’s resolutions, consider PLTI. On Thursday, December 8, 2016, from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm at The Joy Center at Families Network of Western CT on 264 Main Street, Danbury, experience a “taste” of what Parent Leadership is all about.

For more information, call 203-791-8773 ext. 214 or email at danburyplti@gmail.com to learn more.

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December 8, 2016

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