Parent Mentors
March 1, 2024

Statewide Parent Mentor Program Gathering

On February 22nd, Parent Mentors from across the state of Illinois gathered for their first in-person meeting since the end of the pandemic and saw more than 300 parent mentors, coordinators and organizers in attendance. Hosted at St. Augustine College, the event aimed to reunite these dedicated individuals and reignite their passion for their impactful work . Coordinators and mentors, who had previously only connected virtually, were thrilled to see each other face to face. The venue buzzed with energy as they shared their stories surrounding their “Why”, their experiences, and the challenges they had overcome during the past months.

One of the event's highlights was the presentation of powerful data showing the significant impact Parent Mentors had made with their in-classroom presence and Beyond the Classroom campaign. The success stories and positive outcomes fueled the enthusiasm of the attendees, reinforcing their commitment to the program's mission to empower parents, support teachers and students, and build a strong community through leadership development opportunities. This event saw the Parent Mentor Program collectively thinking of four different areas that they wanted to see growth or change. Those discussions saw the cohort tackling the universality of the Parent Mentor Program and its room for growth, the capacity of running such a large-scale initiative, how the program can become a pipeline to education and job opportunities and lastly, how to continue to build powerful leaders who can take up more roles in engaging in their communities.

Attendees learned about the upcoming Parent Mentor Program convention scheduled for April 23rd, an event that promised to provide further education, networking opportunities, and a chance to celebrate their collective achievements. The Parent Mentor Program’s continued monthly coordinator meetings and weekly workshops showed a commitment to supporting the development of their parents. These initiatives aimed to enhance the skills and knowledge of the Parent Mentors, ensuring they remained well-equipped to make a lasting impact in their respective communities.

As the meeting concluded, there was an overwhelming sense of pride and optimism among the Parent Mentors. With plans for the future firmly in place, the Parent Mentors left the event ready to continue making a positive difference in the lives of students and families across Illinois.

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