Education Champions: Parents address concernsWritten by Emily Gibb | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s Note: Toledo Free Press, United Way of Greater Toledo and 13abc’s “Bridges” with Doni Miller are profiling 12 education initiative programs in Northwest Ohio. This is the ninth story in the series.
Parents living in the North End of Toledo came together about three years ago to discuss concerns about their community’s growth and their children’s safety — concerns many parents share. But they wanted to do more than talk — they wanted to take action.
After several meetings, the parents had a new mission to improve its community and a brainchild was born: the Parents in Action Coalition.
The group approached Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority (LMHA) community coordinator Norma Pittman, who helped organize the members.
As a licensed social worker, she was able to work with parents to spread the word since she was already involved with the housing units in that area. It spread by word of mouth, but the best publicity for its activities now are the fliers the members take door-to-door, Pittman said.
She had already been organizing some programs, but the parents wanted to organize some programs, too.
“It was resident driven, they just needed someone to get it together,” Pittman said.
All of the parents involved are residents of LMHA. While it is still evolving and in its early stages, Pittman said, Parents in Action has given the LMHA residents involved a sense of community support, especially because the programs and events occur so close to where they live.
Parents in Action has been able to provide education programs and activities for youth, such as “Safe Night” on Halloween. Kids are able to dress up and enjoy themselves in a safe environment, Pittman said, and parents can enjoy the activities.
They also coordinate with Chase STEM School for various events. One of the most positive impacts of the coalition is the fact that they are setting up positive outlets through their activities, Pittman said. Plus, the activities are not only for kids and parents.
The group has various programs for teens that focus on sexual health and pregnancy prevention, the importance of education and growing into well-rounded individuals.
“We want to raise the consciousness of young people,” Pittman said. “We’re giving them a safe environment to talk about issues on their minds.”
For young adults, both female and male, the group has a program that talks to residents about how the media affects their life, even when they do not realize it. Pittman said the group reviews popular song lyrics and the meanings behind them.
Parents in Action also sponsors adult workshops on topics such as obtaining a GED and dealing with domestic violence. It is also starting senior programs. Pittman said she loves being a part of Parents in Action because she gets to see the progress and growth of the teens and youth as they learn their passions and purposes.