Parent Engagement in Family Programs at GLIDE

by Lucy Stelzner, Family Resource Center Coordinator
With 2012 full swing, I begin to think back on what has transpired this past year within GLIDE’s Family Resource Center (FRC) at FYCC. When I do, I see images of Nam informing me that after our family cooking classes he no longer buys white bread since whole wheat bread is healthier… I see Jose telling me that he caught a baseball at an A’s game that was generously donated to some of our families… I see 4-year-old Kaya enthusiastically working on a literacy activity with both of her parents… I see Noah curling up to his dad during a sing-a-long at a Mommy-and-Me session… and I see Syrenna speaking with pride about her two-year-old grandson, Earl.

All of these images are beautiful in their own unique way, but it is the increased involvement and engagement of parents and families in FRC programming, that is most inspiring. It is seeing families wanting the best for their children and feeling empowered by increased access to resources, workshops and tailored programming, which inspires us as a staff to do all that we can do to provide parents with the tools necessary to keep their children healthy and to push them to succeed in school.
More specifically, it is the whole family that has shown up for our recent early childhood programming that is most exciting, all the way from grandparents to fathers to mom-dad combos to siblings, who have come to support and instill growth in the young children of GLIDE. It is this showing up of various roles in a child’s life that so inspires, driven by the desire to see their children grow into healthy, successful adults.
As Jhonny Sr. begins to tell me one day that all he wants for his young son, Jhonny Jr., is for him to succeed in school and to be as supportive a parent as possible, I remember again why the FRC is so necessary to the low-income families that we serve. We are here as a means to making the overwhelming task of being a parent as stress-free and manageable as possible for all the families who participate in Family Resource Center programming.