New Wave of Parent Mentors Graduate Program

       Caption by Ashmar Mandou

A new wave of extraordinary parents graduated from one of the city’s fastest growing programs, Parent Mentor on Friday, June 8th at Back of the Yards High School. Originally developed by the Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA) in 1995, the Parent Mentor Program has grown from a single school to 76 schools working with 15 community-based organizations across Illinois in 2018. Replication of the program has been supported by the Parent Engagement Institute (PEI), a partnership between the two original parent mentor organizations, LSNA and the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP). Parent Mentor are placed in at-risk neighborhood schools to work alongside teachers and foster a safe educational experience for students. This year, the Parent Mentor program was set in 76 high-poverty public schools in IL, and will expand to nearly 20 additional schools next academic year due to their state budget line increase from $1.4million to $2million in FY19. Democratic nominees for governor JB Pritzker and lieutenant governor Julianna Stratton attended the graduation ceremony and mingled with graduates. The 15 Parent Mentor Partner Organizations are: Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Enlace Chicago, Family Focus Aurora, Hispanic American Community & Education Services, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Moline Coal Valley Schools, Niles Township ELL Parent Center, Northwest Side Housing Center, One Northside, The Resurrection Project, Southwest Organizing Project, Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project, Westside Health Authority, and Woodlawn Children’s Promise Community.