Tuesday, November 15, 2011

PLTI spotlighted at CT-N Town Hall

On Monday evening, the Connecticut Network (CT-N) held a Town Hall-style forum at the Old State House entitled, "Renewing our Democracy: What Connecticut Can Be." A panel led by Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and Everyday Democracy Executive Director Martha McCoy explored ways to overcome the recent cynicism about government and get people more involved in civic life. At about 24 minutes and 30 seconds into the event, moderator Diane Smith called on the chair of the Commission on Children, Dr. M. Alex Geertsma, who gave an overview of what PLTI does to build civic participation in Connecticut:

To watch the event on TV, check CT-N's schedule here.

For more background information on the event, go here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

PLTI grads elected to local offices

The list of PLTI and Parents SEE graduates who've gone on to leadership roles in local and state government continues to grow! Among the alumni who won Election Day victories on Tuesday:
  • Ava Hart and Mitchell Wynn, graduates of Middletown PLTI, were elected to the Middletown Board of Education. Middletown Eye blog post
  • Marina Loyola of Danbury PLTI was elected to the Danbury Zoning Commission.
  • Luz Osuba, a graduate of Windham Parents SEE, has been elected to the Windham Board of Education. Norwich Bulletin article

Congratulations to all! If you know of other grads who won election on Tuesday, let us know.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Parent Trust Fund awards grants for 2012

The Parent Trust Fund, which supports PLTI and other parent-leadership programs, will award grants totaling more than $626,000 in 2012. The money will support leadership programs in Bridgeport, Bristol, Danbury, Enfield, Greenwich, Hartford, Meriden, Middlesex County, New Haven, New London, Norwich, Plymouth, Stamford, Torrington, Waterbury, and West Hartford. This news release has more information.

Monday, October 24, 2011

PLTI grads: They're everywhere!

That's Danbury PLTI graduate Wendy Hess talking with state Representative Dan Carter of Bethel at the Danbury public library, where Representative Carter was holding office hours. The photo comes from his blog. Representative Carter sponsored an amendment in the last legislative session that led to Public Act 11-235, which calls for "a representative from the Parent Leadership Training Institute within the Commission on Children"  to serve on the Advisory Council for Special Education to advise the legislature, the state Board of Education, and the commissioner of education.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Graduates attend domestic-violence bill signing

When Governor Dannel P. Malloy held a ceremonial bill signing for a new law aimed at improving Connecticut's response to domestic violence, two new graduates of PLTI in New Haven were on hand: Zoleka Luswazi (in the purple suit) and Sara Tewolde. Zoleka is originally from South Africa, Sara from Ethiopia. They were in the governor’s chambers on August 5 to witness the signing of Public Act 11-152, which makes its easier for domestic violence victims who've experienced stalking to request a restraining order. It also clarifies that domestic violence victims of any age can request restraining orders, including teens. Zoleka and Sara are now involved in New Haven-based Mothers for Justice.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

PLTI accepting facilitator applications

You can download the application as a Word document here or as a PDF here. Along with your completed application, please submit a resume and contact information for three references by September 30, 2011 to:

Ms. Edie Luciano
Connecticut Commission on Children
18-20 Trinity Street
Hartford, CT 06106

You may also e-mail the documents to edie.luciano@cga.ct.gov.

We anticipate that a multi-day training will be scheduled in early November. Please feel free to contact Dawn Homer-Bouthiette at 860.240.0085 or dawn.homer-bouthiette@cga.ct.gov with any questions.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

PLTI grad takes on challenges of Bridgeport schools

Hernan Illingworth, a 2003 graduate of PLTI, has been appointed by acting state Education Commissioner George Coleman to the new Bridgeport Board of Education. Hernan, a production manager for Beckson Marine, told the Connecticut Post: "Bridgeport has a lot of untapped resources that have to be pursued. But you know what else I bring? A sense of reality. I reflect what is really happening in the district and all the frustrations parents feel. I know what is happening in the trenches. Central office doesn't always reflect that."

Here's a photo of him that ran with another Post article.

Citing an inability to address a deepening budget crisis, the original Board of Education voted in July to ask the state to take over its responsibilities. The state agreed, naming six people to a reconstituted board. When residents complained that none of the six were district parents or Latinos, Commissioner Coleman responded by adding Hernan.

Congratulations, Hernan, and good luck!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Haller award goes to Liberty Bank Foundation

This year's Robert Haller Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service, given annually by the Commission to an individual or organization that has distinguished itself in supporting the education and wellbeing of Connecticut children, goes to the Liberty Bank Foundation for its decade-long support of the Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI).

Betty Sugerman Weintraub, senior program officer at the Liberty Bank Foundation, accepted the award on behalf of the Foundation at the statewide PLTI graduation ceremonies, held June 29 at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

"The Liberty Bank Foundation shows a keen commitment to community," Commission on Children Executive Director Elaine Zimmerman said. "We have seen the Foundation's passion, attention to detail, and authentic concern for children, particularly in this current economy. Recently we have worked with them both on parent leadership and on assessing the potential for an emergency fund for families in this recession. We honor their steadfast leadership, ardent commitment to community strength, and their humble nature."

The award is named for the late Robert Haller of Glastonbury, who played a key role in PLTI's growth by lending his knowledge and experience as a successful businessman and father. His son, David Haller, joined Zimmerman in presenting the award.

Read more about the presentation in this Liberty Bank Foundation news release. (PDF)

Watch the statewide PLTI graduation on CT-N

Thanks to the Connecticut Network (CT-N) for once again providing beginning-to-end coverage of the statewide PLTI graduation ceremonies. Check CT-N's schedule for future airings of the event; CT-N also sells DVDs.

And don't forget: You can't tell who the players are without a program (PDF).

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bridgeport PLTI parents speaking out in local schools crisis

The state's announcement that it would be taking over the Bridgeport Board of Education prompted about two dozen city residents to meet at the Burroughs Community Center last week in an effort to sort out the widespread anger and confusion over the move. In the thick of things, of course, were local PLTI graduates.

A next-day article in the Connecticut Post quoted parent and PLTI graduate Zoila Vasconez. She was among the parents who expressed frustration over the problems that led to the state takeover. She said her children see what their friends in Milford and Fairfield have at their disposal at school and ask, "(w)hy don't we have the same opportunities as other kids in Connecticut?"

Photos accompanying the article show Vasconez and fellow PLTI'ers Carol Nunley, Richard Pezzella, Carolyn Vermont (facilitator), Lenore Lewis-Foreman, and Dorcas Blue.

H/T to Patti Keckeisen.

Another great article on the Norwalk PLTI Class of 2011

This time, the coverage comes from the Norwalk Citizen. That's in addition the Hour article we previously mentioned.

Congrats to New London's PLTI graduates

Click on the photo for a larger view of the June 7 PLTI graduation ceremonies at the New London Senior Center, where 13 parent leaders were honored: Henrietta Adger, Natasha Brown, Roseanne Champlin, Elizabeth Cornish, Krystal Fitzpatrick, Karen Gills, Monica Glickman, Alicia Gonzalez, Lee Luciano-Lecara, Sara Marshall, Sally Price, Abby Rollins, and Rachelle Thornton.

Photos from the statewide PLTI graduation ceremonies

Put 160 smiling parents and their families in a place as beautiful as the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, and you're bound to come up with a few half-way decent photos, even when the camera's in the hands of yours truly:

PLTI statewide graduation 6-29-11

Here's a press release the Commission issued prior to the ceremonies:

More than 160 parents from towns and cities across Connecticut will graduate Wednesday, June 29, from a first-of-its-kind family civics program, the Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI).

The graduates—from Bloomfield, Bridgeport, Danbury, East Hartford, Hartford, Meriden, Middletown, Milford, New Haven, New London, Norwalk, Plymouth, and Waterbury—will receive legislative citations after putting in more than 100 hours to develop the skills needed to become leaders in their communities.

A major requirement of PLTI is completing a community project of the student’s choosing. The projects of this year’s graduates showed a wide range of creativity, such as creating educational television programming for parents of children with disabilities (Bloomfield), improving children's financial literacy (Meriden), and holding after-school classes in manners and etiquette (Norwalk).

PLTI was launched in 1992 by the Connecticut Commission on Children, which had seen growing scientific evidence that one of the best ways to improve the health, safety, and learning of Connecticut children is to help their parents develop the skills needed to lead in their communities. PLTI graduates have gone on to lead community organizations, serve on local school boards, and win election to the state legislature.

“With the economy forcing our state and local governments to make very difficult decisions about the health, safety, and learning of children, it’s vital that parents participate as equal partners and make their concerns known,” said Commission on Children Executive Director Elaine Zimmerman. “PLTI gives them the ‘democracy tool kit’ to accomplish just that. As we always say in PLTI, ‘It’s amazing what one parent can do.’”

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Liberty Bank Foundation touts PLTI on News Channel 8

The Liberty Bank Foundation has been a vital partner with the Commission on Children in supporting PLTI, and today the Foundation took the opportunity to explain the program on "Connecticut Style," the mid-day program aired by WTNH-TV, News Channel 8. Appearing with the Foundation's Betty Sugerman Weintraub were Donna Marino of the Middletown Public Schools and Ava Hart, 2002 PLTI graduate. Great job by everyone!

Liberty Bank Foundation: wtnh.com

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

10 parents graduate from Norwalk PLTI

Ten parents from Norwalk and surrounding towns graduated from PLTI last week, in a ceremony covered by the Hour of Norwalk.

The graduates are: Keri Arpino, Eva Beau, Dora Diaz, Mandrita Guha, Gloria Helenese, Randy Heller, Blanca Munoz, Jackie Ocampo, Marcela Talisse, and Blanca Velasquez.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

11 Milford parents graduate from PLTI

Milford got itself 11 new parent leaders on Monday, June 13, when 11 local parents graduated from PLTI. Mayor James Richetelli Jr. and state Representatives Kim Rose and Paul Davis were on hand to deliver remarks and congratulate the graduates.

There's a nice article about the graduation on Milford Patch
, complete with photos and a good description of the work these parents undertook to win their diplomas.

The graduates are Kristy Brown, Heather Contreras, Carla Farrace, Laura Fetter, Staci Godek, Melanie Hamilton, Stacy Lesperance, Jennifer Marchesseault, Maryellen Schoonmaker, Pritam Sule, and Michelle Zawadski.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hartford welcomes 16 new PLTI graduates

Sixteen proud Hartford parents received their PLTI diplomas on Tuesday night, at a City Hall ceremony that included congratulatory remarks from Mayor Pedro E. Segarra (pictured below), Councilman Luis Cotto, and Dr. Jose Colon-Rivas, head of the city's Office of Young Children.

Congrats to the grads: Darrel Brown, Precious Ross Ellis, Lourdes Fonseca, Monique Griffin, Virgil Griffin, Giselle Jacobs, Tandra Price, Nyrsa Segui, Lorna Shipp, April Simpson, Christina Morales Smith, Jermaine Torruella, Tanya Walker, Ida Washington, Delicia Arnold Williams, and Ivy Wilson.

Here they are! Click on a photo to enlarge it. More photos here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Making their presence felt in Stamford

Governor Malloy has been holding "town hall" meetings across Connecticut in order to get the public's feedback on his proposed budget. When he held one such meeting at the University of Connecticut campus in Stamford on March 22, he learned firsthand about the civics skills that parents hone in PLTI, Parents See, and PEP. Parents like Ana Gallegos -- pictured below, speaking on behalf of PLTI alumni -- spoke out on a variety of issues.