Mini-Session 9: Champions for Our Children’s Future

Josefina Bojorquez

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In this session, parents will deepen their view of themselves as leaders and advocates in their homes, schools, and communities. Parents will strengthen leadership and advocacy skills to solve problems and challenges in a variety of community settings.

Popular Saying: There is no worse struggle than the one never waged.

As a result of this session, participants will:

  • Deepen their view of themselves as leaders and advocates in their families, homes, schools, and communities.
  • Build leadership and advocacy skills that address challenges and opportunities related to their child’s education.
  • Learn the importance of civic participation, including voting.


Often, when we think about a “leader”, we imagine a politician or a historical figure. Rarely do we see ourselves as leaders. But history suggests that effective advocacy and positive changes in our schools and communities happen when individuals take action with others through teams, groups, committees and other structures on the issues that affect them most.

During this session parents will learn that they are leaders – in their families, homes, and/or community – and will be equipped with basic strategies that can be used within early child care and educational systems to create change.

Parents are powerful agents of change and the decisions and actions they take or don’t take daily are of great consequence. When parents advocate for themselves and their families, they teach their children that they have the power and ability to fight for their rights and for what they deserve…once again they are their children’s first teachers! Research shows that the influence parent leaders have, especially when making their voices heard in school decision-making, has a positive impact on their children’s school success – this is true of all racial/ethnic groups. Active involvement by parents in their child’s school helps to create support systems that open doors to opportunities for future educational success.

Every community has examples of parent leaders who made history fighting and advocating for positive change in their children’s schools or in their community. As we will discuss during our session, the Mendez family is one example of this leadership in the American public education system. In 1946 the Mendez family spearheaded one of the first legal cases that helped eliminate racial segregation in the United States. Known as Mendez vs. Westminster, this important legal case illustrates that parents who are informed and decide to take action have the power to influence the lives of other children, families, and communities.

Another important aspect of this session is the importance of civic participation, including voting. Civic participation includes volunteering in local community groups and associations, participating in school based parent committees, and voting. For those who are eligible, registering to vote brings the opportunity to help select individuals who will represent the interests and needs of families within school districts, city, state, and federal governments.