Violence Prevention Training reaches 50 Parents at BridgesPosted by Ryan Phillips on 1/14/2016 12:00:00 PM
Violence prevention funds approved by Oakland voters reached nearly 50 primarily Latina mothers at Bridges Academy at Melrose. The elementary school, located off of International and 53rd Avenue, serves an area that has been identified by the City of Oakland as a hot spot for violence. Over three mornings, parents gathered in an interactive program to tackle challenges such as setting appropriate limits, single parent households, raising children amidst the presence of violence and prostitution in the community, poverty and racism. The workshops were hosted this December by Oakland Alternative Education and Project Re-Connect using Oakland Unite funds designated to reach those who are most likely to be affected by or involved in violence. The effort was made to improve students success with an emphasis to support parents with child development, behavioral and social emotional issues. During the workshop, topics such as communication, trust and self-esteem were explored.
The workshops were facilitated by Debra Mendoza, OUSD Alt Ed Project Manager and Victor LeDon, Project ReConnect. Also there was a guest presenter, Ruben Leal, Community Leader, who spoke from experience about growing in Oakland, navigating the streets, surviving gun violence and the criminal justice system. Parents expressed an interest in more educational trainings not only for themselves but for the youth! It was inspiring to reach so many parents within their unique yet shared experiences. Some participants were recent immigrants from Central America, others were first or second generation immigrants who had raised children and now grandchildren in this same community. The workshops were held in Spanish with English translation (as needed). ""Honestly, I believe this is a great program because all of the information was helpful"", shared one mom. Another stated, ""I enjoyed that we had the ability and freedom to ask questions and participate in this program"". Overall, this parents appreciated the strategies, tools and advice received.
Many thanks to Parent Liaison, Alejandra Jaime, and staff such as Rosana Covarrubias and Bernadette Zermeño who helped support the recruitment and behind the scenes organizing to make this a wonderful success. Thanks to principal, Anita Iverson-Comelo, for capturing the moment and having the vision to support her school with these trainings. Thanks to School Psychologist, Lalita Nayak, for first reaching out via our website.Thanks to Marrika Lopes, Project Manager at Project Re-Connect who made sure we had childcare, coffee and pastries, translation and materials. Incentives in the form of gift cards were given to those who completed all 3 workshops, as well as school supplies to all, bus passes, and (10)$10 gift cards from Mi Pueblo grocery store as raffle prizes. We believe that educational series like these can help keep our community safer and united!