FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HARTFORD—After putting in many hours to develop the skills needed to become leaders in their communities, 300 parents from across Connecticut will receive diplomas at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford on Wednesday evening, June 18.
The parents—from Bridgeport, Danbury, Hamden, Hartford, Meriden, Middlesex County, Milford, Norwalk, Stamford, Stratford, Wallingford, Waterbury, West Central Connecticut, West Hartford, and Windham —will graduate from one of two programs: the Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI), a civic leadership initiative of the Connecticut Commission on Children, or Parents Supporting Educational Excellence (Parents SEE), an initiative of the Commission and the Connecticut Center for School Change.
So many parents want to get involved in civic affairs but don’t believe they’re equipped to lead. PLTI changes that by training parents in “democracy skills,” such as public speaking, budget making, using outcome measures, communicating through the news media, and accountability. Parents SEE, meanwhile, gives families practical strategies for working with other parents, educators, and community leaders to examine education policies and practices.
Since its founding in 1992, PLTI has proven so successful that the W. K. Kellogg Foundation recently awarded a $500,000, two-year grant for a national expansion of the program through the National Parent Leadership Institute.
The latest data concerning Connecticut graduates shows that while only 22 percent of them had a clear understanding of how state budgets were made before entering PLTI, fully 97 percent understood it afterward. Likewise, the percentage of those who could speak publicly in support of a goal at a community meeting tripled. Attendance at town council or school board meetings increased by nearly 30 percent.
In addition to attending the 20-week program, each PLTI parent must complete a community project. This year, for instance, Alva Blair of Bridgeport focused her project on helping other parents identify the alternative high schools available to their children:
Interviews with individual parent leaders can be arranged before and after the ceremonies, which begin at 6 p.m. in the first-floor atrium of the LOB, at 300 Capitol Avenue in Hartford. Here is a graduation program listing each of the graduates and their projects.
Speakers will include state Comptroller Kevin Lembo. This year’s recipient of the Haller Memorial Award, given on the basis of passion, commitment, and leadership on children’s issues, will be Doug Edwards of Manchester, founder and program director of Real Dads Forever. Since 1996, his organization has touched the lives of more than 6,500 family men in Connecticut.
The West Hartford PLTI Class of 2014. Editors: Other class photos available.
About the Commission on Children: Created with bipartisan support in 1985 by the Connecticut General Assembly, the Commission on Children brings together the various levels of government, the private sector, nonprofit agencies, and philanthropy to promote public policies in the best interests of children. Its board members, who serve as volunteers, are appointed by legislative leaders of both parties. It has a staff of seven. For more information, visit www.cga.ct.gov/coc