A New Chapter: Northwest Parents In Action Graduation and Their Paths Forward

Kids First Chicago’s (K1C) Parent Leadership Fellowship (PLF) has officially graduated the Northwest Side Cohort, named “Northwest Side Parents in Action.”

By Victory Nwabufo, Maria Maynez | June 27, 2024 |
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On the morning of Saturday, June 22 in joy and celebration, the Northwest Side Parent Leadership Fellowship (PLF) Cohort, their families, Kids First Chicago staff, and community partners gathered at Roberto Clemente Community Academy to mark the end of yet another successful year for the PLF program.

Since 2021, the PLF program has served as an entry point for parents interested in strengthening their community organizing and leadership skills. Nayda De La Rosa believes that “When parents are provided the support needed to understand the systems that impact them and the tools needed to create the change they want to see for their families and community, they are powerful beyond measure. The only way we can begin to close the achievement gap is through community governance; by including those most impacted by inequities with the power to create the solutions, we begin to course correct the education system to work for all of us.”

The celebration was a moment for fellows and their community to reflect on ongoing efforts towards educational equity and acknowledge the work of those who have come before them. Attendees learned about the importance of Roberto Clemente, a racial equity humanitarian and legendary Afro-Latino Baseball player with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Hosting the graduation ceremony at a school named in honor of a prominent Puerto Rican figure was an intentional testament to the work that the program and its fellows continuously do to support Black and Brown communities.

The day began with mingling, photo ops, and everyone writing celebratory messages on framed headshots of each graduate, for them to have as keepsakes. Soon, the auditorium at Clemente came alive, radiating with excitement as fellows crossed the stage where they were corded and pinned, signifying their transition into PLF’s growing alumni network.

The ceremony included speeches from both K1C staff and PLF alumni. Clent Lewis, a graduate of the Northwest Side Cohort and recently-appointed LSC member, spoke on his experience as a fellow and what it meant moving forward, “I had the opportunity to further develop a better understanding of our school system, our community, and why ‘We’ parent leaders are essential in the success of all our kids. The opportunity embodied the rich cultural aspect of education at its roots and reaffirmed why it takes a village.”


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Teresa Maldonado, a graduate of Westside I.N.C., PLF’s inaugural cohort, and incoming Parent Leadership Fellowship Program Manager, spoke on her experience working closely with the graduating fellows: “It is not by coincidence that this group has named themselves NW Parents in Action. Graduates, through your actions, you have proven to be parents who are fiercely passionate about influencing change, not only for your students, but for all public education students.”

The graduation was a space that acknowledged fellows and their dedication as they continue to work towards education equity on the Northwest Side. As a catalyst for exceptional organizing, the PLF program will welcome fellows from the South Side of Chicago in August.

Congratulations, NW Parents in Action!


Explore the Parent Leadership Fellowship program!

Explore how parents are activating their collective power through PLF and consider nominating someone for our upcoming cohort.

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