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"Recognize, educate, enable and empower parents to take a proactive role in the educational and personal development of their children."
Rather than just reporting alarming statistics about the challenges facing minority and underprivileged communities, Parents Step Ahead set out to "recognize, educate, enable and empower parents to take a proactive role in the educational and personal development of their children." By the end of 2009, Parents Step Ahead will have reached nearly 10,500 parents in 24 schools in four school districts in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
Parents Step Ahead works in partnership with school districts, corporations and community organizations to offer a series of school-based events for parents throughout the calendar year. Educators , motivational speakers, community volunteers and parenting experts present seminars on topics such as gang awareness, drug use prevention, underage drinking, computer literacy, Internet safety, and health and financial issues; speakers focus on ways parents and legal guardians can be involved in their child's life and the difference their involvement can make. Each event also includes a free meal, childcare and gift raffles, culminating in the raffle of computers and printers.
In December, the yearlong program concludes with an awards ceremony recognizing the Parents Step Ahead Parents of the Year. Winners are selected based on program participation and two essays; one written by the parent on the importance of parental involvement in a child's life, and the second essay by their child on why their parent or legal guardian should be Parent of the Year. A selection committee composed of local and national community and corporate leaders selects the winning essays.
Already the program has garnered considerable attention from educators and elected officials. Here's what Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert said: " Parents Step Ahead is fulfilling a great need among our community. By educating parents on the importance of their involvement in their child's life, your program is truly supporting our schools."