Connecting a parent to a classroom seems like a simple idea, but it can have a profound impact on students and families. Through the Parent Mentor program, teachers receive extra eyes, ears and hands in the classroom so they can better support students. Parents, in turn, gain an understanding of what happens in the classroom and are better able to support their own children and other families. Parent mentors also receive additional support at the school like tax preparation help, skill building workshops, and counseling. The school becomes the center of the community, providing a place for families to gather and grow together.
In Brighton Park--a United Way Neighborhood Network community--on Chicago’s southwest side, more than 50 parents work as parent mentors in the elementary and middle schools. Students in a classroom with a parent mentor demonstrated growth in math and reading and the neighborhood has seen a rise in graduation rates and in children successfully transitioning to the next grade.
The program not only benefits the children, but parents and the entire community. Parents in the program improved their English language skills, they had increased involvement in school and community activities, and 75% of parent mentors have attended a class for themselves—many have gone back to school to receive degrees.
The Brighton Park Neighborhood Network has a bold goal to increase the high school graduation rate to 90%. Join the fight for more high school graduates.