During the 2015-2016 school year, COFI-trained parents worked together to create positive change in their schools and communities. The list of victories is long, but here are some highlights from throughout the state.
At Nixon elementary school, on Chicago’s Northwest side, Padres Activos de Nixon, a COFI-supported parent action team, worked with other local organizations to get a KaBOOM Inc. grant to build a new playground, including raising the $8,500 necessary community-match and the $90,000 needed to demolish the current unsafe playground.
The Southside Parents United Roundtable in Chicago worked with the Family Resource Center on Disabilities to be trained as advocates for students and families navigating the special education system, so that they can help other parents stay strong as they try to get their children’s needs met.
In Elgin, Padres con Poder/Parents with Power partnered with the Elgin Partnership for Early Learning (EPEL), to go door-to-door to spread the word about the importance of early learning.
In Austin, on Chicago’s Westside, Let’s Talk, a COFI-supported team of parents and grandparents partnered with Austin Coming Together to organize a June 4th resource and safety fair at Howe Elementary School that included onsite preschool enrollment, information on jobs, and activities for children preschool through 8th grade.
In East St. Louis, Parents United for Change persuaded the school district to provide two crossing guards for a dangerous drop-off spot at the district’s early learning center and to relocate bus stops to safer areas for students within one of the East St. Louis housing projects.
United Parent Leaders of Pilsen and Little Village have been working to get more resources put into restorative justice in their communities and more support for families dealing with the Early Intervention system. They have met with multiple public officials, including Cook County Commissioner, Jesús “Chuy” Garcia to advance their efforts.
For many of these parent leaders, this is just the beginning of a journey for justice for their children and communities. We are excited to see how parent leaders to continue to advance these important efforts in the coming months and school year.