Program to Train 500-Plus Local Latino Parents

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - EducationAs three in every five new entrants to Metro Chicago’s labor force was Latino over the last decade, improving their academic outcomes is critical to ensure the region’s future economic vitality. Building on research that demonstrates the profound effect that parents’ involvement in a child’s preschool years has on future academic success, the Latino Policy Forum launches the second year of its Abriendo Puertas (“Opening Doors”) program in Chicago, with the ambitious goal of equipping a total of 540 local Latino parents with the tools to build solid academic foundations for their children.

Abriendo Puertas is an evidence-based parent leadership program designed primarily for Spanish-speaking parents of newborns to children up to 5 years-old. The interactive curriculum focuses on cultural values, key strengths, and experiences of Latino families. With support from the Pritzker Children’s Initiative and the McCormick Foundation, Latino Policy Forum recently convened a “train-the-trainer” program, training representatives from 17 Latino-serving organizations to in turn deliver the program to Spanish-speaking parents at each of their sites. Building on the program’s success in training nearly 200 parents in the first cohort, the organization hopes to reach an additional 340 parents in its second year, for a total of over 500. The second year of Abriendo Puertas runs through 2012.

Organizations from the inaugural program include Casa Central, Casa Michoacán, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese Chicago, Centro San Bonifacio, El Hogar del Niño, Family Focus, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Mount Sinai Hospital’s Child and Adolescent Behavior Program, and the YWCA of Lake County. New participants include Carole Robertson Center for Learning, Erie Neighborhood House, Gads Hill Center, National Museum of Mexican Art, Onward Neighborhood House, Prairie Oak School (with support from the Chicago School of Psychology), Through A Child’s Eyes, and West Chicago Elementary School District 33.

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