By Sobia Siddiqui
Baylor students from the Academy for Leader Development and Civic Engagement Fellow Program and J.H. Hines Elementary School are partnering to host the Third Annual Parent Involvement Day events Saturday and Monday.
Parent Involvement Day is a community project students are involved in through the Fellow Program.
The Fellows design a project with a community partner Ramona Curtis, the Director for Leader Development and Civic Engagement, said.
Students who are a part of the Fellow Program choose to play an active role in leadership around the Baylor and Waco community. On Saturday, the Fellows will host a block party as the first event for parents from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at J.H. Hines.
Activities for students and parents will include basketball tournaments, fitness programs and dancing programs, Houston senior Prince Adotama said.
The second event will be held from 8 a.m. to noon Monday at J.H. Hines Elementary School and will be educational, Adotama said.
Information about continuing education will be offered to parents from ATI Career Training, McLennan Community College and Baylor to encourage the parents to pursue their own education while getting more involved with their children’s education.
The Academy for Civic Engagement and Leader Development helped get different organizations involved, some of which include The Waco alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority, the County Extension office, Jack and Jill of America and the Waco alumni chapter of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.
Previous projects through the Fellow Program have involved students working with the homeless and charitable organizations in Waco. The Parent Involvement Day project this year is focused on helping young children progress by encouraging their parents to play an active role in their education.
“One of the best ways to get kids to do their homework and get more involved in the school is to get the parents involved,” Boxleitner said. “If the parents are comfortable then they’re going to bring them [their children] up for reading, tutoring; you’re going to have more participation in the school.”
The project aims to help the children of J.H. Hines by getting parents more interested and active in the early education process.
“Having parents more involved will really push their children a lot more to be more academically inclined,” Adotama said. “Children need that motivation; they need that strength.”
When parents feel intimidated by the educational environment, they are less involved and less aware of their children’s academic progression.
Fulshear senior Kristen Boxleitner said the Fellows hope by continuing the Parent Involvement Day at J.H. Hines Elementary School, parents will begin to feel more comfortable with their children’s campuses.
“I wonder what happened in these people’s lives that they’re embarrassed to be at their own child’s school,” Boxleitner said. “They’re embarrassed to talk to their teachers, they want to ignore the whole situation, they want to be left alone, so that they can keep on living the way they have been. They don’t want anybody criticizing them, criticizing their upbringing or their lack of education.”
This event is meant to encourage and teach parents to help their children and themselves.
“When children go to school they need to come back and be able to share that information, about school, about what’s going on,” Adotama said. “I believe that kids really enjoy when people take interest in their lives.”
Boxleitner said children need attention from adults in their lives to have an example they can follow and look to for guidance.
“They don’t have role models. They deserve role models; they deserve people that go in there and actually try to inspire them to do something,” Boxleitner said.
Last year the Parent Involvement Day had 400 attendants; this year the goal is to have an even greater number of attendees.
By helping the parents of one school reach out to their children, the community is helped as a whole.
“It’s been motivating,” Boxleitner said. “I believe in it. If you can motivate somebody to succeed and teach them how to read on reading level, and they can keep up with their schoolwork, that can change a whole community so quickly.”