“The Fostering Family Leaders program changes lives by allowing us to connect to our children, neighbors, and colleagues as we continue to navigate an ever-changing complex society, as we develop ourselves through enriching and rewarding experiences that educate, socially engage, and unify our support emotionally, and physically through a collective relational environment.” – Shuntavius Roberts, Graduate and Mentor from the program at Lee Elementary in Clayton County.
For Shuntavius, the Fostering Family Leaders (FFL) program helped her reflect on the impact that life’s actions, choices, and decisions shaped her experience as a leader of her family, navigating the well-being of herself and her three children. The program at Lee Street Elementary School in Clayton County helped her gain knowledge of what worked and what did not.
She isn’t alone – there are many parents, or family leaders, in our communities that need and welcome support in understanding how to navigate the educational system and help their children be ready and prepared for school. The education of our children, including making sure they are reading at grade level, is heavily influenced by family leadership. The skills learned through the family engagement programming guide new leaders in addressing various barriers impacting the overall academic success of their children.
Since 2016, United Way of Greater Atlanta has been partnering with organizations to institute family engagement strategies and programs across Greater Atlanta and its neighboring communities, including the Fostering Family Leaders (FFL) and LIFE Path programs. The FFL program is a series of ten 2-hour sessions designed to train and support emerging parent leaders. The program builds on the existing skills and capacity of parents to support their children’s learning. The LIFE Path program builds on the FFL program by adding social-emotional learning and financial coaching for parents. By strengthening family engagement efforts, caregivers are better equipped to advocate for their family and community needs including but not limited to academic success of young children, family stabilization and navigating school and health systems.
Strengthening family engagement is a priority that aligns with our Child Well-Being mission to improve educational outcomes for children by addressing the factors beyond school that often get in the way of success, like early learning opportunities, supports outside of school, health and financial stability of all families.
Throughout the month of October 2022, the United Way family engagement team recognized long-standing community partners and champions who have been committed to United Way’s Family Engagement strategies and programs – includingFostering Family Leaders (FFL) and LIFE Path programs – for an extended number of years.
The series of Pop-Up Celebrations were surprise visits to partner sites throughout DeKalb, Fulton, Clayton and Douglas counties. These partners have invested in United Way initiatives, with United Way capacity building and coaching, since 2015 by hosting numerous FFL programs over the years and have graduated nearly 250 parent leaders combined.
Allgood Elementary School (launched 2015)
Communities in Schools of Douglas County (launched 2018)
Fathers Incorporated (launched 2018)
Los Ninos Primero (launched 2017)
Teach O Rea Preparatory Academy (launched 2015)
Ms. Debra Collier (launched 2019)
Ms. Brenda Edison (launched 2018)
Ms. Betty Maddox (launched 2018)
To learn more about our Strong Learners investment priority, click here.