Linking Parents To Community Resources
The Parent Outreach Program was established in July of 2005, as a result of an effort to reach out to at-risk families and the need to join a collaborative effort to mobilize people and communities to support children and families.
The purpose of the Parent Outreach Program is to coordinate effort, educate and empower parents, enabling them to: access resources needed by their family; advocate for themselves and their children; understand their rights and responsibilities as parents. What makes our program unique is our ability to collaborate with other agencies such as the Department of Children and Family Services to provide resources to children and their families in Child Protective Services/Foster Care.
The Parent Outreach Program serves families in Fresno County. Fresno is one of the 10 most populated counties in California and one of the 10 with the largest number of children ages birth to 13. Fresno County has the 6th lowest median income for a family with children under the age of 18. Thirty-four percent of children live in poverty, making Fresno 5th highest in California. We believe that partnerships involving entire communities help ensure the well-being of children and families in need. We truly believe, “it takes a village to raise a child”.
*A very special thanks to our funders and supporters for caring enough about families in the Central Valley to help meet their needs: Payless Shoes 4 Kids Program, TJX Foundation, Save Mart-S.H.A.R.E.S. Program and First 5 Fresno County
Join the Fresno Chapter of PARENT VOICES today! Children’s Services Network sponsors the local Parent Voices group, which is parent-led and focuses on the immediate needs of parents and families. These parents collaboratively may address child care, housing, transportation, health insurance, adult literacy, parenting skills, and other selected topics. Within the group is the opportunity to develop leadership, advocacy, and community organizing skills.
Building Parent Leadership Parents working together to solve the challenges of raising children discover new tools that expand the parental leadership abilities. The Parent Voices group supports the parents’ needs and works to provide greater resources for parents. Parents are also given the knowledge to work for social change through existing institutions – such as school boards, civic organizations, and legislatures.
Fresno parents attend Stand for Children Day in Sacramento: On Wednesday May 4, 2011 the Fresno Chapter of Parent Voices loaded up three buses of parents and headed to Sacramento for the annual Stand for Children Day Rally. Along with hundreds of families and advocates they made a presence to urge legislators to support the Governor’s revenue proposals to close the budget deficit; revenue generating bills that will bring in the necessary funding to protect and expand child care services and other safety net issues and the AB 419 (Mitchell) which will ensure licensed child care centers are visited annually.
- Have been involved in voter education and registration
- Are more involved in their schools
- Have been learning how the California Budget process works through our annual Knowledge is Power Day
- Have visited with legislators at the State Capitol to voice their concerns at our annual Stand for Children Day
- Parents have been involved with the Children’s Movement in efforts to increase early literacy awareness and implement parent/child interaction through literacy at home.
What’s next? Get involved with Parent Voices and help make a difference. Attend parent meetings to plan local actions by working with other parents to build strong families and healthy communities.
Fighting to keep their child care Fresno parent Keishea Pitts shared her personal story of struggles, accomplishments and how she has succeeded thanks to child care assistance.
Taking action On October 2nd the Fresno Chapter of Parent Voices and the Fresno Chapter of Equal Voice for America’s Families held a year end picnic at Roeding Park to celebrate accomplishments and recognize members who worked very hard to make a difference by advocating for children and their families. Lastly, two very active members had the opportunity to visit our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. and express their views on the various issues they advocated for throughout the year.
Costly raise Melanie Welch has been a Parent Voices activist for several years, attending the annual Stand for Children and speaking at the Capitol. The SMI campaign touches her very personally. “My boss wanted to give me a $1.25 raise,” she says, “but I had to decline,” to stay eligible for after-school care for six-year-old Faith. With the raise but no child care subsidy, Welch says, “I would have been more in the hole.”
Really powerful With Parent Voices, Welch recently visited Assembly member Mark Leno (D, SF) to talk about the SMI. Juggling kids, job, and school (she hopes to get her B.A. this year), Welch makes Parent Voices a priority. She remembers going to her first meeting and finding it “just really powerful” to be with “a lot of women in our situation: hardworking single parents.”
To learn more about Parent Outreach or attend our monthly meetings Please, contact Lourdes Hernández at 256-0963
*Fresno Chapter of Parent Voices is partially funded and supported by the following organizations: Statewide Parent Voices, California Partnership, Equal Voice for America’s Families, Marguerite Casey Foundation, Californian’s in Support of Early Education