By Stephanie Gonzalez, External Affairs Associate – Advocacy and Outreach for Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy.
For almost a year, I’ve been engaging with families to talk about the importance of their voice and story being present when advocating for the schools that serve their children. The reasons families choose BVP are multifaceted. Whatever those reasons are, all of the parents I’ve worked with agree on one thing – high-quality public school choice is worth protecting.
Last Saturday, September 26th, a group of parents from all four of our sending districts came together for three hours to indulge in each other’s stories, aspirations, and begin an important journey of advocacy juntos – together.
The Parent Advocacy Fellowship will consist of a 5-part series of workshops where parents will come together to learn how to effectively tell their stories, become informed about the legislative session, and advocate proactively for their and other people’s children. In addition to workshops, fellows will support family engagement throughout the academic year to build awareness and community among the group and share in this journey together.
The importance of why we do this work was summarized quite perfectly by someone who didn’t attend the workshop, but became part of our morning through a story. When parent fellows were asked to share one of their proudest moments as a parent, one fellow chose to share an interaction with her children from that morning. Her youngest son was complaining to his older brother about her having to go off to yet another meeting. Her older son was quick to interject. He told his little brother that mom was heading to a meeting with other parents “because someone has to fight for us.”
Everyone in the room paused after that story. We smiled, put our hands over our heart, and were reminded why we decided to come to school on a beautiful Saturday morning.