We know that when families and neighborhoods engage in education, our kids are better prepared for school, have higher academic achievement, better social skills and an increased likelihood of high school graduation.
Metro United Way parent advocates in our Ages & Stages Questionnaires Parent Network work together with low-income families in our California, Russell and Portland neighborhoods, building networks by starting with a trusted leader in each neighborhood that has a passion for children and learning.
The families benefit from regular interaction, learning opportunities, parental support, field trips, reading clubs, potluck dinners and family-centered events.
At a recent parent network holiday party, they celebrated the principles of Kwanzaa. Both parents and children danced and acted out principles such as Kujichagulia (koo-jee-chah-goo-LEE-ah) which means “self-determination.” There are seven core principles of the holiday: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, collective economics, purpose, creativity and faith. These core principles reflect the hopes of families we work with to ensure a child’s zip code will not determine their ability to be ready for kindergarten.
Thanks to everyone who joined in and helped make this event a success; meaningful family engagement spans across settings where children can learn, and the earlier it begins, the more powerful the effect!