Program for Community Transformation
Many Latinos who immigrate to the United States bring with them values that do not help them or their families take a more meaningful role in the society around them. They come from socio-economic backgrounds that do not value higher education for their children and especially not for their daughters, and were raised with authoritarian parenting models frequently characterized by physical and verbal abuse. Coming from cultures that lead them to take a passive, submissive view to figures in authority, they lack the skills to advocate successfully for themselves and their children.
The Barrio Logan College Institute www.blci.org is dedicated to changing these paradigms by preparing Latino children in San Diego to be the first in their generation to attend college. As part of this effort, CSP member Ray De Lagrave Ray has, for the past 12 years, given workshops to the students' parents to provide them with a person centered model for communication. Parents have eagerly taken on this skillset and experience to be effective catalysts for change in their families, communities and workplaces.
BLCI values the workshops' role in helping the parents all of whom were born outside the U.S. - develop the skills to raise strong, self-reliant children in a supportive home environment. In the process, parents also learn to become strong and effective advocates for their families in dealing with schools and social service organizations.
The parents gather for a two-hour weekly session, over a period of 10 weeks. The meetings begin with practical instruction in person centered communication skills (no more than 20-30 minutes per session) conducted by Ray. The remainder of time Ray facilitates parents in exploration, in a safe group setting, issues which are impacting their lives. In this portion of the sessions, the bulk of the discussion is conducted by the parents, who share their experiences and offer their perspectives, while themselves practicing to model the principles of empathy, authenticity and unconditional acceptance.
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