Valley Communities Foundation hosts parent training program

MERCEDES — Nearly 100 parents from across the country walked away with a resource guidebook to help their children be successful in college.

The guide was created by the Mercedes-based nonprofit Texas Valley Communities Foundation for its parent training program called Parent Leadership Institute. It was introduced last week in Washington, D.C., at a national conference on education.

The foundation was invited to present its parent training guide at the annual conference of the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships and Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs.

“Parents have a lot of power and they play a very important role in their children’s success,” said Dr. Martha Cantu, Texas Valley Communities Foundation executive director for college and career readiness.

“They learned new strategies, how to help their children and what resources are available for their children to succeed in college.”

The foundation sent its team of presenters led by Cantu, former vice president of student affairs at University of Texas-Pan American.

She helped the foundation develop the curriculum that introduces and engages parents in the facets of college readiness as outlined in Dr. David Conley’s research, “Redefining College Readiness.”

The conference highlighted the importance of K–16 education and community partnerships and the accomplishments of GEAR UP. It was planned in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education.

Cantu said it was an awesome conference and they delivered the training to 95 parents from across the country to help the parents transition their children from high school to college.

The training was delivered in both English and Spanish.

The foundation teamed up with College Board, who sponsored the Parent Leadership Institute that included a variety of skill-building and networking opportunities for parents and family advocates working with state or local GEAR UP partnerships.

“The primary reason we were asked to conduct the Parent Leadership Institute was because the CEO and president of NCCEP really liked our Parent Academy for Success of Schools (PASOS) curriculum,” Cantu said. “The PLI was developed after already implementing PASOS successfully in school districts and we continue to implement it.”

Cantu said the foundation has already been contacted by school districts and grant organizations from across the country to do the training.

“Students know how to get into college, but sometimes they don’t know what it takes to stay in college,” Cantu said. “Parents came back with information on how to help their children persist in college.”