More than 60 SWOP leaders traveled to Springfield on May 9th to rally for the Parent Mentor Program. They were joined at the State Capital by almost 200 other leaders from 11 other organizations from around the state. All are participants in the Parent Mentor Program in local schools. Through the program, the Parent Mentors spend two hours a day in classrooms working with students and assisting teachers. Research shows this has been an effective way to improve academic achievement for students.
The parents were excited to meet with their peers from across the state. While in the Springfield, they spoke of the importance of the program and heard from legislative supporters. They then headed out to meet with the individual State Representatives and State Senators.
The Parent Mentors are asking the State to increase its support for the program to $3,000,000 for the next school year. This increase in funding will allow the program to grow to more schools and communities across the state. At the individual meetings, parents asked their representatives to sign a letter supporting the increase in funding.
After the visits, they headed back to Chicago to continue their good work. For many parents, this was the first time they had travelled to the State Capital. “It was an educational experience to see how the Capital and political process works. They were able to share their stories with their legislators. It was really worth taking time out from the work in schools to make the trip” said Maggie Perales, SWOP organizer.