Parent Mentors
April 24, 2024

Empowerment Through Education: The 2024 Parent Mentor Convention

On April 23rd, 2024, the Parent Mentor Program once again illuminated the House of Hope with its annual Parent Mentor Convention. The event marked another milestone in the journey of empowerment and support for families across Illinois. Co-chairs Denise Sanders, Jimena Martinez, and Luz Jimenez orchestrated a day filled with inspiration, camaraderie, and advocacy, drawing in over 1900 Parent Mentors from more than 250 schools across the state of Illinois.

The Parent Engagement Institute (PEI), a partnership between Palenque LSNA and the Southwest Organizing Project, organized the event.PEI builds the capacity of community organizations, parent leaders, and schools to replicate the Parent Mentor Program and Ladders of Opportunity models. The program builds transformative parent leadership in schools and communities across Illinois and beyond.

The conventionshowcased the dedication of Parent Mentors and the steadfast support they receive from political and educational leaders. One key speaker was City of Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, whose presence underscored the program's significance in the educational landscape. Mayor Johnson expressed his delight at witnessing the program's evolution and pledged support for its continued growth, recognizing its valuable role in shaping the future of education and the future of the youth whose lives the Parent Mentors touch.

The convention resonated with the enthusiasm of Parent Mentors, who foster strong partnerships between schools, students, families and the community. Their tireless efforts contribute to creating inclusive and supportive learning environments, empowering students and parents alike. The presence of numerous principals further underscored the collaborative spirit of the event and emphasized the importance of community engagement in education. A highlight of the convention was the keynote address delivered by Illinois Representative Elizabeth “Lisa” Hernandez, whose impassioned words echoed the program's commitment to equity and opportunity for all. Representative Hernandez's insights shed light on the transformative power of parental involvement in education, inspiring attendees to continue their work.

The day culminated with testimonials given by active Parent Mentors who shared how they joined the program and closing remarks from Congresswoman Delia Ramirez, whose advocacy for educational equity mirrored the sentiments of the convention. Her words served as a rallying cry for continued action and collaboration.

During the convention, special recognition was bestowed upon Mayor Brandon Johnson, Pedro Martinez (CEO of Chicago Public Schools), Tanya Woods (Chicago Board of Education Member), Al Llorens (President of the Illinois Education Association), Stacy Davis Gates (President of the Chicago Teachers Union), Katya Nuques (City Colleges of Chicago Board Chair), Erica Thieman (Director of Standards and instruction, Illinois State Board of Education) and Kirsten Parr (Project Lead for Standards and Instructions, Illinois State Board of Education) for their support for the Parent Mentor Program.

The 2024 Parent Mentor Convention was more than just a gathering; it was a celebration of collaboration, empowerment, and the enduring commitment to educational excellence. As the program continues to flourish, fueled by the dedication of its Parent Mentors and the support of its allies, the future of education in Illinois shines ever brighter.

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