Investing in Parents & Kids
Parenthood is one of the most rewarding experiences in life. But it can also be one of the toughest. So, there are times when parents could use a helping hand. And finding support in their communities makes a big difference.
This is why building supportive communities is a key ingredient of WWCC’s Education programming. And another is strengthening the bond between parent and child. Parents benefit by playing an essential role in their children’s development and children thrive when parents are empowered to advocate on their behalf.
At WWCC, HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters) recognizes mothers as first educators and helps them to deliver a curriculum that gets 3-5 year-old children ready for school. When Jeanett joined with her autistic son, Alejandro, in 2006, she found a community that understood the challenges that mothers with young children face. “I learned a lot as a HIPPY mom,” she says. “I’m especially grateful to the site lead who was my guide [through the program]. I received endless support.”
Moms, like Jeanett, are given opportunities to bond with their youngsters, connect with their communities, gain new skills and build confidence. They commit to 30 weeks of training and receive support from other mothers who have completed HIPPY as well.
On Your Mark (OYM), WWCC’s tutoring/mentoring program in partnership with Toronto school boards, looks further down the line toward grades 1 to 12 to provide academic support to children of Portuguese and Spanish-speaking heritage. Students are paired up with dedicated volunteer tutors on a weekly basis. OYM also engages parents by inviting them to useful workshops and encouraging relationships with their child’s tutor, teachers and school principal.
After Leidy’s son, Francisco, got an OYM tutor in 2006, she learned to address his school needs. “For me, [the program] has been a great support while he’s getting help with his homework,” she says. “It gives me the tools to advocate for him.” Leidy also adds that she and Francisco’s tutor work on any emerging issues together.
While HIPPY and OYM put a direct spotlight on the child’s development, the Latinx Parents for Change Project has a slightly different focus. Participants are Latinx parents with children in elementary school, and those who complete the 12-week Latinx Parent Ambassador training learn how the Toronto school system works. They also build up their confidence to form relationships with school officials and effectively address issues that involve their children. So, the investment in parents improves the academic outcome for kids.
Becoming a Latinx Parent Ambassador gave Alejandra the confidence to volunteer at her daughter’s school. “I was scared to get involved at first, but felt I had to after hearing about the negative side of school life like discrimination, bullying and uncooperative teachers,” she says. “We focus on how to make a difference. You support other parents who have the same concerns as you do and you get that support too. You know you’re not alone.”
“WWCC is a partner in the ongoing investment in parents and kids,” says Marcie Ponte, WWCC Executive Director. “Our Education programming recognizes that children, parents and their communities work best when everyone is engaged. That’s how we continue to support one another and move forward together.”