First Place Winner & Audience Choice Award at Zaentz Innovation Challenge
We are thrilled to share with you that on April 27th, 2023, at the Zaentz Innovation Challenge at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, our Parent Leadership Program received 1st place in the Accelerate Track from the panel of judges and won the audience choice award.
Winning the Zaentz Innovation Challenge is confirmation of the need to elevate and center the voices of parents in order to inform equitable and inclusive practices that benefit all children and families. From 13 parent leaders in year one, to nearly 200 parent leaders trained this year, parents are leading a movement of change across the state – and agencies are welcoming them.
We are inspired by the parents who are working alongside community agencies as equal partners in changing systems. As we look forward to taking this program to the next level, we are excited for the opportunity to continue to expand so that even more children can benefit from solutions created by parents and agencies.
Decisions on systems and policies are made every day that directly impact children. We created the Parent Leadership Program to equip parents and agencies to work together to improve outcomes for children.
Tiffany Benson’s journey from participant to Family Engagement Manager shows firsthand the power of the Parent Leadership Program and the impact it can have on families.
“I saw my community struggle while well-intentioned leaders made decisions that did not reflect our needs and priorities.
The six leadership trainings and 6-month Community Impact Project gave me the confidence and communication skills needed to effectively advocate for my community. I learned how to turn dreams into plans and how to work with institutions to change policies.
I used those skills during my community project with Boston Public Schools’ Universal Pre-K program to launch the Early Childhood Family Council. My participation paved the way for 50 representatives across Boston and formalized parent involvement in decision-making, benefiting over 1,000 children each year.”
Thank you for supporting us during this exciting time!
Watch the full event! Families First’s pitch starts at 1:22:11.