Local women train for parent-mentor program | AspenTimes.com

Local women train for parent-mentor program

Jeanne McGovern The Aspen TimesAspen CO Colorado

CARBONDALE – It might be the start of the school year, but a group of Roaring Fork Valley moms just celebrated graduation.On Friday, the women successfully completed a weeklong training workshop for the Valley Settlement Project’s parent-mentor program, which will have them working alongside teachers at Crystal River Elementary School in Carbondale and Sopris Elementary School in Glenwood Springs.”It was amazing to watch the transformation of these women in just a few days,” said Morgan Jacober, director of the Valley Settlement Project. “I have no doubt that they will have a huge impact when they get into the schools.”Now that they are trained, the 18 women will work in the schools – Monday through Thursday from 8 to 10 a.m.; on Friday mornings they meet with their fellow parent mentors. Among their duties will be assisting classroom teachers, working with individual students and bridging the gap between school and the community.Their training for the parent-mentor program, which was modeled after a nationwide parent-mentor program, included practical skills and personal growth.”It wasn’t necessarily about how to help the teachers they will be working with,” Jacober explained. “The focus was on self-reflection, … about setting goals personally and for their families.”The group of 18 women, which included Hispanic and white parents, achieved that and more.”They were empowered. And they learned how to empower others,” Jacober said. “They were walking taller and ready to take control of their lives just by engaging in this training.”As such, the parent-mentor program dovetails perfectly with the Manaus Fund’s Valley Settlement Project, a dual-generation program focused on school readiness, elementary school achievement, economic stability and community engagement for families from Aspen to Parachute.”So the parent mentors are now able to be leaders in their community,” Jacober said. “They can help themselves and others be better mothers, better wives, better neighbors.”The parent-mentor program is one of six initiatives being launched as part of the Valley Settlement Project, which recently received a $1.2 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to reach its goals. Other programs include Neighborhood Navigators, Family Friends & Neighbors/Licenses Home Child Care, adult education, after-school programming and El Busesito, The Little Bus.jmcgovern@aspentimes.com