This month we celebrate the important role a mother plays at her childrens’ school.

Celebrating Parent’s Roles in Families and the Community

Claudia Garcia is an immigrant from Mexico who lives with her husband and 3 children in San Rafael, California. She came to the United States when she was 15 years old and immediately started working. As a young mother who did not have the opportunity to finish middle school, Claudia wanted to raise awareness at her children’s schools about the challenges and barriers low-income immigrant parents face daily. “I wanted to let everyone at the school district know that we can’t expect all our parents to have the same level of education” she says. “It’s a real issue. Not everyone finishes elementary school.”

Claudia is currently the president of the School English Learner Advisory Committee (SELAC) at Venetia Valley School, a valuable member of the San Rafael Family Task Force and a tireless community volunteer. “I want to be a point of information for other parents,” Claudia says, “so they know they’re not by themselves.”

Claudia attended Parent Services Project’s (PSP) parent leadership institute, a multi-day training program aimed at building on parents’ strengths to equip them with knowledge, skills and social support to advocate for their children in their schools and communities.

“Our school district had the impression that all parents were wealthy. They didn’t see that we needed the extra services like those found at schools with more poor students… PSP helped us reach out and get the services…Now we have a family resource center.”

Claudia feels strongly, as does PSP, about the need to educate the community and its institutions about all families, irrespective of race. She worries about divisiveness forming between different groups. “We don’t want to focus just on Hispanics, Whites, Blacks or Asians,” she says. “We want to work with them all so they can all feel the same. We want equality.”

Claudia, pictured in red sweater, joins other members of the parents’ SELAC group to announce the evening meeting at her local school.