Parent Mentors Converge at Daley College

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - EducationApproximately 500 parent mentors convened at Daley College last Friday for the first Statewide Parent Mentor Convention. Parents, mostly immigrant women, from across the state and the Chicago region came together for the first time to celebrate the statewide expansion of the “Parent Mentor” model. “This program for me in my life means a new beginning and a reason to look forward to the future,” explained Maria Palomera, a new Parent Mentor at her children’s school in Skokie.

The statewide expansion is due in large part to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights’ (ICIRR) $1 million new fund from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to expand the Parent Mentor program statewide. “Five-hundred parent mentors around the state are bringing energy, passion, and love to the classroom every day,” said Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA) organizer Leticia Barrera. “There is no way we are going to let the state budget stop our momentum. We are ready to keep growing.” However, ISBE funding is at risk due to state budget cuts. Over the past 17 years, LSNA and Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) have led the Parent Mentor program in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) in the Northwest and Southwest sides of Chicago

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