Parent Leaders Advance Local Goals 2023-24

A group picture from the Aurora town hall. There are about 22 women and one man standing on a few rows of stairs

Every year, COFI works with local parent action teams in Chicago neighborhoods and across Illinois to take action in their schools and communities. Parent-driven change is a key part of The COFI Way, and we’re proud to share some of our parents’ accomplishments.


Padres Líderes Activos launched a Parent Power Center! For six months, the Aurora mothers hosted healing circles, Parent Cafes, and parent-to-parent mental health programming to support family well-being. Senator Karina Villa, Representative Barbara Hernandez, and Congressman Bill Foster visited the Parent Power Center to learn about its programming.


A big focus of the Chicago local branches and teams has been on Whole School Safety at Chicago Public Schools. Parents organized two Whole School Safety community engagement sessions at Little Village Elementary and one at Little Village High School to incorporate parent voice in the development of the policy and engaged 36 parents in at least one session!

East St. Louis
A picture from Fairmont City with six women and two men. Five people are holding certificates.

Parents United for Change in East St. Louis focused on food insecurity and visited a food co-op in Cairo to learn about funding and launching their own co-op! They also met with the school district’s wellness committee and shared recommendations about improving school lunches.

A group picture from Elgin's Phase 2: Community Outreach and Action community forum. There are about 28 people in the picture, including about four young children.

New parents in Padres Con Poder de Elgin completed over 100 surveys and held a community forum on June 11. They revealed that the greatest community concerns are school climate and meals. Senator Cristina Castro’s staff and Circuit Judge Julio César Valdez were among the attendees!

A group picture of about 21 people, including Evanston parent leaders and community members

In Evanston, P.E.A.C.E. (Parents of Evanston Advocating for Change and Equity) completed 228 surveys and held a town hall on June 14 with more than 50 attendees! Their survey findings highlighted the community’s concerns on violence and unaffordable housing. Evanston City Clerk Stephanie Mendoza, 5th Ward Councilmember Bobby Burns, District 65 Board President Sergio Hernandez, Jr., and the Evanston Police Department were among the attendees! Parent leaders also won investments for affordable housing, mental health first aid training, and education support during this year’s Evanston Participatory Budget process!

New Communities
A photo from the Rockford Youth Mental Health Systems of Care Phase 1 Self, Family and Team graduation. There are about 12 adults in the picture and one child.

COFI also started training in new Illinois communities this year – including Rockford and Waukegan.