The 2018 hurricane season has been extraordinarily active in parts of the U.S., with Hurricane Florence currently impacting millions in the Carolinas. As this natural disaster unfolds, the staff here at VolunteerMatch is doing its part to ensure that, if you are in an affected community, you are prepared and safe. And if you are looking to help with disaster relief efforts, you know about the most effective ways to contribute.
Parent Leaders are ambassadors in the community, by offering other parents information about proven "parenting techniques" related to protective factors (and community-based programs to refer their teens to); addressing issues of stigma and help-seeking, and countering the shame and negative experiences that other parents of adolescents are facing.
After completing training Parent Leaders will conduct peer education sessions with parents in this community, whether they take place at parent workshops, community events, small-group discussions or one-on-one dialogues. After the training, the Parent Leaders will then immerse themselves in the fabric of their neighborhoods, prepared to teach other parents how to give "immediate emotional support" to the youth in their lives. Parent Leaders will be the spark for a community-wide skills transfer process.
Parent Leaders will form teams to design and implement service projects which will contribute to building protective factors in their community. Service projects will be designed with an eye toward making a positive contribution to the community well beyond 2020. Parent Leaders and Life Coaches will build community resident, parent-run programs that will reach the community and inner city youth who have been arrested, discipline problems, and/or have had numerous school suspensions.
Peer-to-peer community outreach using Parent Leaders is an effective and empowering way to engage Chicago-area residents in ongoing conversation around violence prevention, mental wellness and positive coping strategies to stress and trauma. In this component of the Parent Leadership Training Initiative (PLTI), the Parent Leadership in Action Network (PLAN) will:
Identify low-income parents and other caregivers of color in various communities who have been "through the fire" in dealing with their own issues (life struggles) and have navigated the tricky waters and challenges of raising adolescents;
Recruit these parents for volunteerism (8 hours per week) doing community education and outreach to their peers (other parents of adolescents);
Arm these parents with content (mental wellness) communications, training on prevention (violence) strategies and leadership training;
Provide ongoing personal development opportunities, including group activities; and
Prepare these new parent leaders to become "go-to" resources in the neighborhood.