Integrating Parent Engagement Everywhere

For an organization’s programs to deliver optimal outcomes for children, Parent Engagement is a must. As Aspire Toledo conducts our Café Conversations with people throughout the community, young people repeatedly tell us that if their parents aren’t taking an active role in a program, that program has limited potential for success. When this happens, parents’ involvement leads to stronger programs. In the process, some parents will become even more engaged — and some will rise into roles of parental leadership.

As important as Parent Engagement is, though, the realities of running programs day-to-day often stand in the way of encouraging parents and caregivers to be true partners in the success of the program. In a recent blog post, we offered five steps to help programs take the initial steps boost Parent Engagement, tips that foster a welcoming environment for parents and caregivers. In this post, we offer further ways to make Parent Engagement central to your organization’s programming.

Promoting Parent Engagement within Your Organization

Parent Engagement is most effective when it is fully integrated into the culture of the organization. For current staff, that may take the formal of developing training unique to your individual program. Moving forward, it’s important to add Parent Engagement into new employees’ job descriptions, and including Parent Engagement into your organization’s policies and procedures.

All of these ideas are aimed at successfully engaging and building meaningful relationships with parents and caregivers. By creating a culture that welcomes parents and values their participation as active partners in your program, your organization can develop stronger programming that delivers better outcomes for the children you serve.

Promoting Parent Engagement within the Community

As Aspire continues to communicate our mission to the public, we hope that the importance of Parent Engagement will become a part of the everyday conversation among all the Toledo-area stakeholders. As service organizations present their case to funders, it’s important to stress the importance of Parent Engagement.

With so many organizations delivering a vast array of programming in service to children, many parents can feel they must carefully choose which programs with whom they can fully engage. Remember, these are people with jobs, children and, of course, the many stresses that come from being part of the underserved population. Rather than competing for these parents’ precious time, the experts we’ve consulted with recommend creating a culture of collaboration and coordination among agencies who cater to similar audiences.

Aspire Toledo is dedicated to bringing the entire community together — parents, service organizations, funders and community leaders — to bring quality programming to children throughout the Toledo area. Our goal is to hear these stakeholders’ concerns. As we gather more insights into the characteristics of successful programming, we will be presenting them on this blog. We hope you’ll check back here for further updates.


Aspire Hosts GradNation Event For Parents in East Toledo

In April, Aspire hosted a community summit at the East Toledo Family Center to gather information from parents and caregivers in the Waite community about high school participation and attendance.  Some 100 people attended the event, participating in facilitated round table discussions.  Aspire Board Chairman Denny Johnson attended the event, as did volunteers from multiple partner agencies.

The YWCA Youth Development Programs, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, Adelante, Mercy St. Vincent’s Healthy Connections Program, ABLE, and the Toledo Federation of Teachers all were on hand offering information on their support programs.

Superintendent of Toledo Public Schools and Aspire Board Member Romules Durant spoke to the group about the importance of education and the role of parents, highlighting the many new initiatives being introduced at Toledo Public Schools.  A representative from America’s Promise Alliance gave a presentation on the GradNation campaign.

Strengthening Families parent partners led the café conversations discussing challenges, as well as what student success looks like for parents.

Parents surveyed after the event said it was informative and interesting; that it gave them hope and inspiration and that they appreciated the support.

Click here for more photos.