I am Just a Parent, What Can I Do? (Session 6E)
Main Topic: Family and Community Engagement
Session Type: Talk Story
“I am just a parent -what can I do?”, this very question is what birthed the Parent leadership Training Institute over 20 years ago and it is still a question asked today by parents. This one question leads to many other questions about the meaning of leadership, what it means to be a ‘parent leader’, what is advocacy and how to effectively advocate The Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI) is a free 20-week program that teaches parents and community members to become leaders who can solve problems that affect their families. It bridges the gap between government decisions and the needs of community members. By fostering leadership and civic engagement, PLTI gives community members the tools and confidence to improve our community. COVID19 has deeply impacted Hawaii, and recovering resiliently will require new community leaders with innovative solutions. Our families and communities often already know the solutions they need to improve their lives. They have the motivation to create change, but their voices are often unheard, and they may not know how to navigate civic structures. As a result, the most deeply needed changes are often overlooked in a state where families are struggling to survive. When community members lack the knowledge, skills, or confidence to make their voices heard, they become disempowered and learn to believe they have no control over issues that affect them. Loss of public trust in government has become especially concerning. There is a great need to empower parents and community members to actively participate in civic life, which is exactly what PLTI has been proven to do—on Oahu, across the state, and nationally. PLTI is a national, award-winning, evidence-based civics program that is proven to bolster parental involvement while promoting the lifelong health, safety and learning of children. PLTI graduates gain self-confidence as they develop leadership abilities and use their skills as change-agents to help the children and families in their communities. Children of PLTI participants also benefit when they see their parents participate in their community as advocates and decision-makers.
At the end of this session, participants will understand the importance of being advocates for children/their community, learn about a free 20-week program they could participate in to learn leadership and advocacy skills and understand the greater need for ‘parent’ leaders in their communities.
Keywords: engagement, advocacy, leadership
Ms. Laura NevittHawaii Children's Action Network - Community Engagement and Training Director
Hawaii Children’s Action Network
Laura brings 20+ years of organizing in both the electoral and issue advocacy worlds. She has a Master’s Degree in Advocacy and Political Leadership from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and a Bachelor’s Degree in Women’s Studies/Political Science from Metropolitan State University. She has worked with Healthcare workers in Michigan to engage them in the political process, advocated and educated for Clean Energy in Louisiana, was the Political Director for a Labor Union in Washington State and most recently, was the Executive Director for the Democratic Party of Hawaii. In her spare time, she likes to hike, take photos, read, swim and run along Waikiki’s beaches. She is joined by her husband of 32 years who recently retired.