Parenting Communities got started in 21 neighborhoods in Chicago in summer 2013 through the IL Community Violence Prevention Program’s Parent Program. This Governor’s Initiative (which was funded, administered, and supervised through the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority and IL African American Coalition on Prevention) made it possible to hire three part-time administrative staff in each community to coordinate the effort and then provided part-time summer jobs for 50 parent leaders. Be Strong Families trained the admin staff in each community on the Be Strong Families Parenting Communities ™ model — which includes 1) parents working on their individual vitality by their strengthening body, mind and spirit, 2) parents intentionally building protective factors in their families, and 3) parents forming teams to do service projects in the community that make the neighborhood a safer, better place to raise children. Be Strong Families also provided technical assistance and implementation support to participating communities throughout the summer.
The results were amazing — not only in terms of what happened during the summer, but also because of the grassroots commitment to keeping the momentum going all year long. Parents are continuing to hold Parent Cafes to help parents reduce stress, get information, build friendships, and be leaders. They’re continuing to contribute to their community’s online guide to What’s Good in the Neighborhood — a Yelp-like website with parent reviews of local community resources. They’re working to sustain the benefits of their summer efforts to clean up the streets, plant community gardens, host health fairs, provide Safe Passage to children, be Peace Angels, engage youth, prevent school bullying, and mobilize to advocate against domestic and other forms of violence in their community.
Be Strong Families is continuing to support these Parenting Communities by maintaining relationships with parent leaders and staff, hosting events (such as the October Harvest Festival), publishing a monthly newsletter, and publicizing What’s Good in the Neighborhood to encourage widespread contribution and use.
Click Here To Read Our Chicago Land Parenting Communities Newsletters
Learn about Chicago Parenting Communities by clicking on the links below—and to get involved, contact Be Strong Families!
|Chicago Maps are from The Map Collection, University of Chicago Library, Christopher Siciliano, and Jeremy Atherton|