Community Engagement in the 505—A Core Value!

Parkland Academy Team’s Comadre and Compadre Program, a college-funded initiative, has exceeded its objective of generating community engagement with district Latino students and parents.

This semester, the Comadre and Compadre Program (CCP) has participated in 10 community outreach events that have been hosted throughout the K-12 pipeline as well as at local community centers. The program connected with well over 380 Latino families and students in Parkland College District 505.

Their outreach events inform Latino students and parents about the numerous opportunities available at Parkland College, ranging from free English as a Second Language (ESL) courses to Parkland’s Pathway Program. During these events, CCP members and coordinators have also fielded questions about financial aid,  scholarships, campus climate, and degree programs, among others.

Iroquois West High School VisitMany interactions with prospective Latino students and their families have taken place at informational events at area schools. Most recently, a Latino student panel consisting of Kenia Gonzalez, Kellyn Cuevas Tovar, and Grascon Torres shared their educational experience at Parkland College to 34 Latino students and parents at Arcola High School. Of those who attended the event, 16 high school seniors expressed a strong interest in applying and enrolling at Parkland College. The furthest outreach event took place at Iroquois West High School in Gilman, Illinois. The program coordinator as well as mentors  and mentees took the 45-minute drive up north on I-57 to interact with 23 Latino students that consisted mostly of juniors and seniors interested in learning about the Parkland College experience.

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This type of community engagement is not a program objective to be attained, but a core value. It guides the program’s approach towards providing essential information in Spanish to Latino students and parents about making college a dream come true. More importantly, program mentors and mentees serve as recognizable examples that college is possible despite the existing barriers.

The Comadre and Compadre Program will continue to fulfill its core value of community engagement in the spring 2015 semester.  Program coordinators have already scheduled a visit to Rantoul’s middle school for the month of January.

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