Parent Leaders Make Powerful Local Impact in 2022-2023

COFI parent leaders and Evanston City Council members pose for a group photo

The COFI Way begins with parent-driven change close to home. This summer, as we look back on POWER-PAC IL’s statewide legislative victories, we’re also proud to share just a few of the phenomenal highlights and accomplishments of COFI-trained parents in local communities across Illinois.

In EvanstonPEACE-POM parent leaders held two successful community events (a town hall and participatory budgeting session) for about 100 attendees. The city selected a group of PEACE-POM members, representing parents of color in Evanston, to finalize a rent assistance proposal. Also, recent Self, Family & Team graduates were recognized by the City Manager during this month’s City Council meeting (pictured above).  

Members of the East St. Louis branch, Parents United for Change, pose for a photo. The cover of their cookbook can be seen in the corner of the image.

Parents United for Change in East St. Louis focused their efforts on physical and mental wellness this year. They published a new cookbook, The Kitchen Table: Dishing Up Social Change, filled with delicious recipes that “represent who they are and how they organize in community with each other around the kitchen table.” They also met with District 189 to advocate for healthy and high quality school meals, which resulted in the District applying for a Healthy Meals grant and an invitation to the parents to join their Wellness Committee.

Parent leaders gather for community conversations in Aurora

In AuroraPadres Líderes Activos hosted community events to facilitate conversations about mental health, using various mental wellness models like restorative justice-focused peace circles and parent cafes. Their meeting in March had over 70 people in attendance, including State Representative Barbara Hernandez.

A large group of parents and children proudly display their artworks during a community art event

Padres con Poder in Elgin hosted the first session of community art workshops (a new afterschool program that they won funding for last year) at a local church in February, with over 80 people in attendance. Families created beautiful works of art together, demonstrating the powerful connection between art and wellness. Newly trained parent leaders also hosted a Zumba Day this month, encouraging families to move and have fun together.

A group of parent leaders happily pose for a photo during a winter Chicago mayoral forum

Lastly, Chicago teams (North/NorthwestSouthside Parents United RoundtablePadres Unidos, and Westside) banded together to support mayoral forums this winter/spring. They developed and shared their own agenda of action priorities with candidates. They urged their neighbors to go out and vote. Currently, members are in talks with Mayor Brandon Johnson’s team, and are eager to work together for change.

Please join us in celebrating these amazing local victories!