February is National Parent Leadership Month. The Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) Head Start Program and corresponding direct service providers — including school districts and community early learning centers — know that parents are some of our best community partners.
As part of MARC’s Head Start Program, parents and caregivers lead parent cafés and the Head Start Policy Council. Parents and caregivers who attend parent cafés come together every month because they have a shared commitment to improving their own lives and the lives of their children. These parents and caregivers also share a desire to improve their families and communities. Parent cafés help parents build resilience and community ties. It’s through this network that parents can learn new parenting skills and build supports for times of need.
This February, MARC is highlighting four parents who regularly attend parent cafés and serve as leaders. These parents support their peers, help their children thrive and improve their communities:
- “Parent cafés have modeled a behavior of patience and a platform for pure kindness. Parent cafés have also taught me to be more aware of my support systems and how to be resilient. This support encourages me to treat the next person I meet with kindness and understanding. Head Start also helped me become more confident. I am becoming more educated and researching new opportunities to support my family and my community.” -Aubrynn Good-Brown
- “Head Start gave me the confidence to know I am doing what is right for my child and my family. Parent cafés taught me that no matter where you come from, when you have children they come first. I’ve met people with different backgrounds and life experiences and, over time, we become a support network for each other.” -Bethaney Volkman
- “The parent café’s give me confidence to speak up for myself, my child and others. It also reminds me that taking care of myself isn’t selfish. Head Start and parent cafés taught me that I’m not alone. Other parents are going through similar situations. Head Start has equipped me to move about in my community with all of the tools needed to be successful.” -Anneasyka Roston
- “I feel as though Head Start gave me a path to sharpen my leadership skills. It gave me a path to become a more ardent servant for my community. By attending parent cafe’s, I have learned about my community and the people who live around me. It has given me an everlasting impression of the good that can be accomplished if we all work together.” -Christopher Thornton
Parents Anonymous, a nonprofit dedicated to providing support for parents and preventing adverse childhood experiences, started National Parent Leadership Month as an opportunity to show appreciation to parents, especially those who work to improve the lives of their families, neighbors and communities. MARC recognizes and acknowledges that parents and caregivers are essential allies in our collective efforts to improve educational outcomes and build resilient communities.