As the primary caregivers and a child’s first teachers, parents constantly strive to ensure that their children have access to the resources they need to be successful in school and in life. A parent’s relationship with their child’s school relies on being able to effectively communicate with teachers and staff to advocate for their child’s learning. While this can be challenging for any parent, it is even more difficult for a parent who may not speak English as their primary language when attempting to obtain the necessary support for their child.
For the past five years, Hartford Parent University, Inc. has worked to increase parent involvement in the Hartford’s schools and empower parents to raise children who are successful in school and in life. Hartford Parent University works to increase the capacity of families to actively and effectively support their children's education; positively impact school improvement; and improve the quality of life in Hartford's communities. Over the past several years, the organization has noticed a steady increase in the number of Spanish speaking households in need of support to connect to resources at their child's school and community in their primary language.
Now more Latino parents will receive the support they need to become effective advocates on behalf of their children thanks to a $20,000 grant to the Hartford Parent University from the Latino Endowment Fund (LEF) at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. This grant will be used to hire a bilingual Spanish-speaking coach to facilitate Hartford Parent University’s (HPU) “No Child Held Back” parent program to 50 Latino families during the 2018 calendar year and connect them to school and community resources for their children to be successful in school and life.
“This grant from the Latino Endowment Fund will allow The Hartford Parent University to engage and empower Latino parents in the education of their children in their primary language,” said Milly Arciniegas, executive director of Hartford Parent University. “When families complete the program they gain a better understanding of navigating the school system and are better connected to their child's teacher and other school staff. The training will provide parents access to educational and community resources and a way to communicate with teachers and guidance counselors.”
The HPU/No Child Held Back parent program utilizes Hartford Parent University-trained parent coaches to instruct parents using authentic and culturally appropriate methods. The parents go through a seven-step program that helps them change their mindset around the education system and their role in it. The HPU parent coaches are focused on supporting and empowering the participants to gain confidence as advocates for their child's education. Families receive a Chromebook laptop computer and are provided training to learn how to use it. This allows parents to connect to education applications such as PowerSchool to monitor their child's academic progress, Middlebury ESL program for parents to improve their English skills, and Naviance, to monitor their child's student success plan. In addition, the laptop computer allows the parents to access other community resources.
“The Latino Endowment Fund has long supported efforts to support parents and families and give them the tools they need to be well-informed and powerful advocates for themselves and their children as this is a key to building stronger communities,” said Moraima Gutierrez, chair of the Latino Endowment Fund steering committee. “Hartford Parent University has been working to provide parents with the resources they need to ensure their children have equal access to a high quality education and this grant will allow more Latino families who face language barriers to benefit from these supports.”
The Latino Endowment Fund was founded in 2003 by Latino leaders in Greater Hartford to increase philanthropy in their community and to strengthen nonprofits working to improve the quality of life for Latino residents. Members examine issues affecting the Latino community and recommend grants from the fund to address those issues. For more information, contact Wanda Y. Correa at 860-548-1888 or firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.hfpg.org/latino.
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. Made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations, the Foundation has awarded grants of more than $680 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit www.hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.