Summer Vibes at COFI

Summers at COFI are magical. With kids out of school and parents enjoying time with their families, COFI’s work pivots to summer projects and the pace of work slows a bit with the hopes of returning in the fall refreshed and ready to fight!
Here’s some of what we’re up to this summer:

Parents conducting Early Learning outreach

During the summer and early fall for many years running, COFI partners with the City of Chicago and Chicago Public Schools for parents to conduct peer outreach about early learning and enrollment opportunities for young children in their communities. As we speak, parents are out and about knocking on doors and talking with other parents at the doors and at local events! Additionally, parents are bringing COVID vaccine information to the families, encouraging vaccinations for children and adults.
A group of Latino and African-American parents staff a college outreach table in the Austin neighborhood

Parents conducting outreach in the Austin neighborhood to encourage adults to sign up for college

This year, COFI launched a new outreach partnership with City Colleges of Chicago! In this pilot, parents are inviting and supporting adult learners to enroll in City Colleges to complete a degree or certificate program.

A large group of smiling people stand in a conference room

We had a blast celebrating our recent victory with State Senator Cristina H. Pacione-Zayas of funding Children’s Savings Accounts and making them more accessible and equitable to families statewide! Congratulations and thank you to COFI/POWER-PAC IL parents, partners, advocates, and legislative champions for your hard work throughout the years.

A graphic with Susana Salgado's quote "Everyone needs access to quality early learning, regardless of race, immigration status, or income."

The Council for Professional Recognition recently featured COFI/POWER-PAC IL parents’ work in the Early Learning Campaign, interviewing parent leader Susana Salgado and policy organizer Jesse Rojo. Thank you to the Council for providing a great overview and sharing the importance of increasing access to high-quality early education programs for all families!

A group of five Latina and African-American women in a conference center, ready to attend the Midwest Asset Building conference A Latina woman and African-American man stand in front of a sign for the NACRJ Conference in Chicago

Recently, POWER-PAC IL parents and COFI organizers attended two powerful conferences. At the Midwest Asset Building Conference in St. Paul, Stepping Out of Poverty campaign leaders gathered with advocates, practitioners, and researchers to disrupt the racial wealth divide and help families build prosperity in the Midwest. A few weeks later, in Chicago, Elementary Justice Campaign leaders convened with other Restorative Justice practitioners from around the world at the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice (NACRJ) Conference in Chicago. They presented on their own parent-led Peace Centers in Chicago Public Schools.

A collage of 4 photos showing different people enjoying themselves at the Celebration of Hope picnic

Lastly, we want to share a handful of photos from last month’s Celebration of Hope picnic at Dan Ryan Woods – the best and biggest ever in COFI’s history! More than 250 family members from all over the state gathered together to reflect, eat, play, and dance – all despite the scorching hot weather. What an incredible way to wrap up a fantastic, victorious year!