Parents Are Important Conference: “United We Will”
Friday, February 17, 2017

Devinn LoVette from City Life Lansing and Love the City discussing the impact of words such as “power,” “support,” and “respect” and how each individual has their own definition of these words.

Photo by Noah Maldonado
LANSING, MI -- The second annual “Parents Are Important: United We Will” conference took place at Lansing School District’s Eastern High School (EHS) at the end of January.   Eastern’s Family and Community Liaison, Rosa Killips, organized the event.  This year the event focused on including parents and more of the student population.  Over 50 people showed up to partake in the 5 hour conference.
As Eastern’s Family and Community Liaison, Killips recruits and works with organizations, agencies and businesses who participate as co/teachers during class time.  She believes that parental involvement is so important to the success of students and also organizes various other informational events for parents as well.  Since there are other issues that impact the ability of a student, she also provides assistance with food, clothing, after-school activities and tutoring. Killips is also the advisor to the EHS Latino Club and the EHS Creative Writers Forum.
Killips said, "Studies show that students do better academically and socially when the parent is involved with the school.  At Eastern High School we are trying various strategies to involve parents.  The Parent Conference brings parents to the school and provides important information for helping their child succeed. This years' conference was an opportunity for parents to spend quality time with their students at the school."
The first presenter, Megan Lachmar, is a family therapist and a Ph.D. student in Human Development and Family Studies at Michigan State University. 
During the session on building self-esteem, Lachmar spoke about how the development of a positive self concept is extremely important to the happiness and the success of children.  Self esteem is a major key to success in life and how we feel about ourselves, and our behavior reflects those feeling.   She expressed that the development of a child’s positive self esteem can be very important to their social and educational development.
Lachmar said, “Parents more than anyone else can promote their child’s self esteem.  It isn’t particularly difficult thing to do.  In fact, most parents do it without even realizing that their words and actions have great impact on howe their child or teenager feels about himself.”
Jerome Vierling, who is the Team Lead for City Life Lansing and Love the City, brought a similar message to the attendees during the “Impact your teen even when it feels like they won’t listen” session.  
With passion, he explained to the attendees that parents do not need a degree in Communications to know that parents and their teenagers seem to spend more time talking at and past one another than to and with one another.  Different agendas, the stress of daily life and familiarity breeding contempt are some of the reasons why they are not communicating effectively.  Vierling discussed practical tips for improving communication.
While parents participated in these workshops, students met with Devinn LoVette and discussed the impact of words such as “power,” “support,” and “respect” and how each individual has their own definition of these words. 
The conference ended with both students and parents in the same activity on breaking stereotypes for better intergenerational communication.
Irma Carillo, mother of 10th grade student Adrian Carillo, said, “I learned a lot during the two sessions.  I also liked the fact that there were more students in attendance this year.  It is an opportunity for them to hear what you have been telling them all along from professionals.”
Printed in the February 19, 2017 - March 4, 2017 edition.

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