First in the nation capacity building program

Last year, Silvia Miranda’s husband was sent to Mexico to obtain a visa as part of a long but required process from USCIS for people seeking U.S. residency and eventually U.S. citizenship.

Two of Miranda’s children became ill during their father’s absence—one was paralyzed with Osteomyelitis and her youngest suffered from Scarlet Fever for over a month.

“If I was to find a job, I’d be fired right away for calling off so much,” says Miranda. She and her five children were eventually evicted from the apartment.

But Miranda stays focused in her role as president of the Academy of Parents in Leadership (APL), an initiative of Gamaliel of Metro Chicago (GMC) that challenges education issues, such as the closing of CPS schools and overcrowding. “The parents have been my pillar,” Miranda says.

For the past seven weeks, Miranda and a group of about 60 people have been attending GMC and National Louis University (NLU) Urban Education Leadership Program, the first capacity building, education program of its kind in the nation designed for parents of Latino children in CPS. The program teaches policy, leadership, education issues in immigrant communities and cultural education integration.

“They [parents] have what it takes to become leaders, but many of them don’t know where to start. This training is deep in information, unlike the CPS monthly meetings held in our schools,” said Miranda.

This past Saturday, June 29, parents attended a graduation ceremony from the program.

“It’s important to have programs like these because parents play a vital role in the future of their children,” said NLU’s Outreach Unit Director Ignacio Lopez

by Alma Campos

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