Abriendo Puertas (Opening Doors) is the first U.S. based comprehensive training program developed by evidence-based data for Latino parents with small children to assist them with various levels of cultural and scholastic shock. This organization was founded a decade ago to support and honor parents seeking the tools to assist them in providing an educational foundation for their tiny scholars to embrace the value of learning.
Abriendo Puertas’ mission is to support parents as their child’s first and most influential teacher in their home. The Abriendo Puertas parent program provides a broad array of parent leadership at home and in school, extending to the community-level advocacy on behalf of children and their families. Using Paulo Freire’s universally successful approaches (i.e. Pedagogy of the Oppressed), working parents share their struggles and victories, their hopes and goals, while they develop into the best first teachers of their children. Since its inception, Abriendo Puertas has built this program on core values beginning with:
- Listen first.
- Honor family experiences, family history and all knowledge compiled from those experiences.
- Establishing parental leadership at home.
- We are all students, as well as teachers.
- Invest time and education with parents, and they will lead the way.
After ten years, the Abriendo Puertas parent program had assisted over 80,000 families throughout the United States, impacting 178,000 children for the better.
Parents participation in the Abriendo Puertas program provides the groundwork for them to use Paulo Freire’s “popular education approach.” Facilitators from Abriendo Puertas assist parents understanding of their significant and long-term impact of their children’s education and its relation to their child’s health. Topics and materials guide interactive sessions drawn from real-life experiences, incorporating data from local schools and communities. Instead of just disseminating information, “popular education” roots itself in social transformation through shared experiences, struggles, and hopes. Partner organizations are now reporting that over 1,000 Abriendo Puertas parents program graduates are now facilitating other Abriendo Puertas parent groups in their local environments.
In the effort to build local partnerships, staff and parent graduates of the Abriendo Puertas Institutes are then sent to work with master trainers to become certified to deliver the program to parents in their local communities. Participants experience the methodology and materials for each of the programs ten sessions, and practice “popular education” facilitation with coaching from master trainers and input from peers. Evaluation reports have shown that the Abriendo Puertas program provides significant learning and growth for parents. While building local partnerships for dual-generational sustained impact that will produce long-term results for families and communities. The goal is for parents to have the skills to not only teach their children and prepare them for school, but for parents to become strong advocates for quality education and other resources that their students may need as they progress through the school system.
For the past ten years, the Abriendo Puertas national network has responded to challenges and distributed important advocacy resources to parent leaders across the country. A survey conducted by UC Berkeley; Bridges, Cohen, and Fuller in 2012 reported that 96% parents reported confidence across language and literacy, school preparation, and advocacy. Compared to other parent interventions, the Abriendo Puertas program ranks in having large outcome effects, particularly in school preparation, health, advocacy, parenting, early learning, parent confidence, and increased confidence in general.
In the next ten years, Abriendo Puertas intends to build upon “what works.” Utilizing all the data collected from families throughout all 50 states, the organization plans to continue its investments in training for local communities (Abriendo Puertas Institutes) and providing affordable access to the Abriendo Puertas parent program curriculum, including future upgrades and editions.
Tell me, and I’ll eventually forget. Show me, and I will probably remember. Involve me, and I will make it mine for the rest of my life and share it with others.
To learn more about Abriendo Puertas, click here.
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