Thursday, January 3, 2013

Child advocates are rising to leadership in PLTI

“Communities have power and stick together,” proclaimed one parent at the latest session of the Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI). Each Thursday evening, she gathers with like-minded child advocates to discuss ways local residents and government officials can work together to best support the well-being of children in Miami-Dade County.

This 22-week program is one of a kind in Miami and a model across the nation for engaging child advocates and parents in meaningful discussions about the health, safety, and education of youth. Since its inception, PLTI has seen more than 100 parents in Miami and 1,600 parents around the country take leadership roles in local Parent Teacher Associations, parent involvement committees, boards of education, nonprofit organizations and advisory boards following the program. Participants address issues spanning neighborhood safety, education and park restoration through community development projects.

“We need to remember the human side of the community. We cannot just generalize them,” expressed one parent at Thursday evening’s session. Rather than define communities as set geographic locations, PLTI participants contextualize them as areas with shared resources and people with a common vision. 

Yader Medal joined PLTI because of this. “What I love about the program is the focus on community-wide issues that need attention,” Yader said. “It’s motivating to be part of a program to keep the community good.”

As a father of two, Yader hopes PLTI will make his family stronger and more informed about ways to advocate on behalf of children. He also envisions his and other kids getting along through simple acts of giving back to their own community. Yader's wife also attends PLTI. They worked together during Thursday evening’s session to identify community assets in an Asset Mapping exercise—pinpointing specific places and resources that make their neighborhood thrive. Later in the year, Yader and his peers will revisit their asset maps to plan their community development projects.

What sets PLTI apart? Some credit the program’s ability to engage voices of individual participants while mobilizing the entire cohort to act collectively for the betterment of local neighborhoods. Others credit the community-feel fostered by trained facilitators. Join us and find out what the program can do for you!

Applications are now being accepted for the next class of the Parent Leadership Training Institute, which will begin January 26, 2013. PLTI is a FREE educational experience that trains parents and child advocates to effectively advocate for all children—in schools, communities, and government. For more information, contact PLTI Coordinator, Gina Ha, at


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