On Friday, March 17th, more than 650 parents from across the state come together to celebrate their work, learn new skills, and hear from Sen. Tammy Duckworth. As the convener of the Parent Mentor Program, SWOP staff and leaders planned and executed the event along with other staff and leaders from the 14 other Parent Mentor partner organizations. Led by Andrea Ortez, organizers Maggie Perales and Adriana Vasquez along with Parent Mentor coordinators Carolina Rivera, Mayra Sarabia, Eugenia Flores, and Tara Henderson spent hours identifying speakers and presenters, registering over 650 attendees and coordinating all the meaningful logistics.
The day started off with a rousing song from SWOP organizer Adriana Vasquez. From there, participants heard testimonies from parent mentors about the impact of the program on their lives. Two State Legislators, Theresa Mah and Jaime Andrade, were acknowledged for their support. Parents then headed off to one of seventeen different workshops; covering everything from how to build a vision for your dream school to a Know Your Rights training on immigration law. In the workshops the participants learned practical skills they can take back to their classrooms and use to help improve learning. These skills include how to identify and address trauma, use body language and movement to improve learning, and use storytelling to help people understand the work.
When the group reconvened, Sen. Tammy Duckworth provided a key note address. She talked about her own experiences growing up and the importance of public education in helping her achieve all she has. She called for the government to keep its commitment to public education and encouraged parents to keep fighting for better schools and communities.
Parents left the event energized and ready to head back to their schools and do more work to build their dream schools. Watch a recording of the convention here.