Parent and Community Engagement

Parents are uniquely positioned to impact their own lives, the lives of their children, and the lives of people in their communities.

Why It’s Important

Understanding the vital role that parents play in ensuring their children’s success, Para Los Niños has made parent engagement a core component of its mission and strategic plan. Together with high quality education and integrated support services, parent engagement helps close the achievement gap, particularly English language learners living in chronic poverty.

Senderos (Pathways) is a school-based community engagement program that develops parents as leaders. Parent leaders collaborate with school staff and community members to create sustainable pathways for change in their schools and neighborhoods. They assess the needs of their community, identify priorities, and develop projects. Throughout this process, they learn skills in financial literacy, computer literacy, advocacy and communication. This program was launched in 2012 through the generous support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Parent Leadership

Building on this model for parent leadership and social change, Senderos is developing parent leaders to educate their families and communities about nutrition and obesity prevention through partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. CHLAKids is one branch of the Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Initiative (ECOPI), a four year initiative bringing together a broad range of partners to implement community-based public education, skills-building and environmental changes that promote physical activity and healthy eating. The grant, funded by First 5 LA, targets the nearly one million LA County children 0-5 years of age and their families. Para Los Niños promotoras and parent leaders will provide nutrition and physical activity education and resources to families with children ages 0-5. Parents will receive nutrition education and develop leadership skills to share this information with their families and communities. These efforts are focusing in communities in SPA 4 with childhood obesity rates above the county average including Downtown LA/Skid Row, Westlake, Koreatown, Chinatown, McArthur Park, and Temple Beaudry.

Parent leaders are also receiving the opportunity to receive training to become peer support group facilitators. As facilitators of Parent Support Circles, parents reach out to other parents in communities of Supervisorial District 2. Parent Support Circles of Los Angeles County (PSCLAC) is funded by First 5 Los Angeles and overseen by Children’s Institute, Inc. The objective is to start 100 peer support groups for parents of children age 0-5 in Los Angeles County; 20 groups will be created in each Supervisorial District. Para Los Niños is coordinating efforts in District 2, which includes neighborhoods in South Los Angeles, Culver City, Baldwin Hills, Inglewood, Lennox, Hawthorne, Gardena, Compton, Lynwood, and Carson – among many others.


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