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.’”