Building Social Capacity and Engaged Citizens
Nearly 10 years ago, in partnership with the California Endowment, PIQE formally introduced a civic engagement program to advance further the skills our families have gained through our parent engagement workshops. The additional nine-week civic engagement program provides families with the knowledge and tools to become more civically involved in school, local, state and national issues. Parents learn purposeful civic steps toward improving the quality of their community, building relationships with their decision-makers and connecting with others who share their passion. Families complete the program with resources and networks to put their new skills to work.
Working in Our Communities
Addressing the adversity and trauma which so many of our families face during their lives requires various elements of social change. Our parents are ready. They simply needed the tools and knowledge to know how to advocate for their communities. From traffic improvements to Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) participation, our parents are working with leaders to improve the health of their communities.
Below are just a few of the many projects they have been part of in the last nine years.
LEADING THE CHANGE
- Working with Building Healthy Communities, an initiative funded by California Endowment, families from the Planada community successfully secured $2.4 million grant from the California Statewide Park Program (Prop. 68) to revitalize Houlihan Park. The park included new features such as children’s splash park, and outdoor stage and jogging paths and exercise stations. The families took part in an eight-part series of workshops to develop the specific recommendations in the grant proposal.
- A collaboration between community residents, County Board of Supervisors, CALTRANS, and Merced County Association of Governments results in the planning and approval of a highway improvement project (roundabout) to address longstanding pedestrian safety problems along Hwy 140 in Planada; the approved Capital Improvement Project is estimated at $4.7 million.
- Planada Elementary will now offer all school board meeting documents in Spanish including agendas and meeting minutes.
- In partnership with Planada Elementary School District, families worked with school leaders to develop a park improvement project through the Born Learning Trails. The path that runs through the park to the school offers a beautiful interactive and playful community engagement tool, designed to help parents, caregivers, and communities support early learning in both English and Spanish.
- Merced Union High School District, in collaboration with community residents and partnering educational entities, approves funding to address disparities in African American student outcomes by approving resources in the 2018-19 LCAP to research and develop action steps based on visits to model schools and programs, analyses of data, and participation with the County Office of Education and Merced City School.
- Merced City School District to increase social-emotional support including Psychologist, Board Certified Behavior Analyst and suicide prevention training for all BCBA’s, two Counselors licensed for social work, staff development for trauma-informed practices and social-emotional learning and a new Behavior Support Center (staffing and transportation).
- Residents from South Merced created the first Anti Bully Play at Gracey School. The residents wrote, scripted, and acted out along with their children in the “Alto al Bullying” play that took place in April. This play was in advocacy efforts to increase mental health support services at school and implement a pilot program to bring back school uniforms, more social-emotional support services, and transparency in funds for parents.