I first learned about NEW Academy Canoga Park through a friend a few years ago and after hearing such great things about the school, I enrolled my daughter. She’s 7 now and we’ve loved every year at NACP. Since she was little, I was always interested in getting involved in her education, but sometimes I felt like I’d be an outsider. I was scared that if I asked teachers or staff about how to get involved they’d dismiss me and tell me I wasn’t allowed in the club. I think part of it had to do with thinking there’d be a language or cultural barrier.
I’m not going to lie, when I started to participate in parent meetings at NACP I felt scared sometimes… I still do, but I think this was the best environment for me to get over my fears of not being invited to participate in my daughter’s education. The administration at NACP is intentional about telling parents that their opinions matter. Aside from this, it helped that I already had friends whose children also attended NACP. My friends constantly invited me to meetings and workshops and encouraged me to speak up and participate. They told me not to be scared because everyone at NACP was supportive.
I’m really grateful to have pushed myself out of my comfort zone for the sake of my own growth and my daughter’s future. In the time I’ve been involved with the parent center, I’ve taken workshops with CABE. They’ve taught me how to advocate for myself and my daughter. I’ve felt empowered and learned how to better problem-solve when issues do arise. I’ve also participated in classes taught by promotoras and learned a lot about how to keep myself and my family healthy. Aside from gaining skills through being involved, I’ve also been able to give back. It’s really inspiring for me to do things like pass flyers out to other parents and tell them how getting involved with their student’s education can empower them too.
While I think some parents are busy and don’t have time to get involved, I think others would get involved if they were just given a little more motivation. That’s why it’s important for parents to encourage other parents and to share their experiences. At the end of the day, I try to be as involved as I can because I want my daughter to see how I’m pushing myself and how she can push herself in school too. If we as parents acted like good friends to one another and pushed each other to step out of our comfort zones for our children, the way my friends did for me, we can collectively empower all of our students.
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