Developing Parent Leaders
Parent Voices gives parents the opportunity to channel our love for our children into action for social change
-Susanna Padilla, Parent Voices Northern Alameda
Parent Voices leadership development process begins with the conviction that every parent is the expert on their children's needs and has leadership qualities. Our "learn-by-doing" approach provides opportunities for parents to express and develop those qualities while building a community organization. Using our core values as a guide, we have developed the following leadership development activities:
Work toward social change by developing new community leaders to advocate for child care and respond to emerging issues:
- Knowledge is Power advocacy training is an interactive workshop about the federal and state budget and legislative processes. Utilizing skits and role plays, it supports low-income parents in developing their own ideas and responses to the challenges ahead in the budget and legislative year
Encourage parents and child care consumers to identify issues, solutions, and courses of action:
- Local chapters meet monthly and always provide food and child care. Meetings are a great opportunity to meet other parents and become connected to your community. Parents build relationships which provides mutual support and helps build confidence in order to organize, lead, and participate in non-violent direct actions
Act with passion and resolve, using a variety of strategies:
- Throughout the state budget decision-making process, parents testify at every state budget hearing related to child care and other social services. They infuse each hearing with the authenticity of their life experience, and the racial, linguistic and economic barriers they face. Parents also meet with their local, state, and federal legislators to advocate for policies that impact their lives
- Parent leaders organize the annual Stand for Children Day, which brings 500 parents, children, and child care supporters together for a march, rally, and legislative visits in the State Capitol.
- Fun activities, fundraisers, and demonstrations with a twist are organized throughout the year. Examples include a family dance night, yard sales, and a mock State Fair - the State UN-Fair - to protest state cuts to child care.
Promote strong, articulate parents to govern the policies of the organization
- Parent Voices Steering Committee is composed of parent representatives from each chapter. It sets policies, develops campaigns, and approves activities. Each chapter chooses a representative and an alternate for the Committee.
- Every year 35 parent leaders and organizers from across the state participate in a leadership retreat to develop campaigns and strategy.
As a result of our leadership development model, parents have preserved over $1 billion in child care funds for low-income families; led meetings with the Department of Education and Department of Finance; pursued degrees in Public Policy; been nominated and hold appointments to Local Child Care Planning Councils and other city and county governing bodies; become members of Parent Advisory Councils in school as their children enter school; and adapted the skills they have acquired during their children's youngest years to become lifelong advocates for their children and families.
Read parent testimonials here