" I now see myself as a mentor and guide for other women in my community in providing advice for how to parent their children.” - ELPASO Parent Leader
WHY ELPASO WAS FORMED
The Community Foundation serving Boulder County has reported the striking differences in school achievement between Latino and Anglo students. The educational achievement gap between Latino and Anglo students in Boulder County is the largest in the state of Colorado. This gap in educational outcomes results in economic, social, and political disparities for years to come in our community. We created ELPASO to raise awareness of the importance of early childhood education while at the same time emphasizing the value of Latino parent leadership in the community.
ELPASO sees a future where Latino families form a community movement where their children have the same opportunities of success as Anglo children.
The ELPASO Solution
Through parent focus groups in Boulder, Lafayette, and Longmont, we grasped two important concepts. First, we realized that parents are on the front line, holding the key to ensuring their children are ready for kindergarten. Second, we saw that parents were perhaps the only stakeholders who could make sure community leaders funded relevant interventions. By working at a grasssroots level through our two programs, EXITO and VOZ, we create a network of parent leaders who spread their learned experiences, skills, and knowledge with the rest of the community. During these visits, coordinators also recruit parents with leadership potential to attend the ELPASO parent leadership program, which has helped parents to gain the tools necessary to be agents of change in their communities. More than 50 parents participated in the parent leadership program during our first two years, receiving skills, knowledge, and critical information about the importance of early childhood education. These parents immediately put their skills to use by sharing information learned in the classroom with other community members, during more than 250 house meetings, or “cafecitos”.
More than 40 leaders are participating with a goal that each parent host six cafecitos. These cafecitos have the potential to transform student outcomes by creating hundreds of additional engaged Latino parents of 0-5 year olds in Boulder County.