Celebrating Parent Leadership
“Parent leadership is like an iceberg. What we see is often only the most surface level. We may not know about the parent who advocates for her child to sit at the front of the room because they can focus better there, or the dad who takes on a role as a coach so his child has a team to play on. Parents in groups who share strategies, tips, skills with each other for how to find a therapist to how to find housing to how to reward their child for completing chores. Professionals who work with parents must always remember that parents are the experts.” — Ann Gaasch, FamilyWise Chief Executive Officer.
February is National Parent Leadership Month, recognizing the important role that parents and caregivers play in creating healthy families and communities. For FamilyWise, this month is about celebrating the wisdom of parents and caregivers and seeing them as change-makers in their communities.
Every day our staff walk alongside parents as they grow in knowledge, skills, and confidence to achieve their family goals. It’s hard work that parents and caregivers do every day, one step at a time, and it often goes unacknowledged. This month we want to share stories of how we see parents taking on leadership roles and changing their lives and the lives of others around them.
“When Jasmine first came to FamilyWise, she was struggling with chemical dependency. “She worked so hard, learning and growing, to achieve sobriety and stability” shared Brittany Seidel, Parent Support Services Manager. As a result, she ended up getting her kids back and becoming a speaker at her treatment center.
Lisa Deputie, Metro Area Director of Prevention Initiatives, is inspired by a father working to create systems change through an initiative with his county. “He’s gone through a lot to fight to be there. African American men are not honored as fathers by systems.” He is passionate about bringing his voice to a system that impacted his life.
Alicia was one of the first parents involved in our Wraparound program. At first, Alicia was very distrustful and unwilling to disclose aspects of her case. “Over time, she did so much work to change, like striking out on her own, ending damaging relationships, inviting a neighbor into her life. She made all of these strides, and she regained custody of her child,” remembered CEO Ann Gaasch. Alicia’s child had experienced trauma and was having trouble in school. Alicia got to be an advocate and teach the school what her son needed to succeed.
Parents are doing remarkable work for themselves, their families, and their communities. Take time today to acknowledge the valuable contributions of a parent or caregiver in your community.