Proud Washington Heights Parents Graduate, Better Equipped for Work Force and Economy

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On Saturday June 9, the Fifth Annual Ercilia Pepin Parent Leadership Institute Graduation ceremony took place. Over 100 participants gathered at the Mirabal Sisters Campus to celebrate their accomplishments which was followed by an exhibition in the cafeteria of their acquired and perfected skills.

The Children’s Aid Society’s Parent Leadership Institute was designed to help immigrant families overcome the social, cultural, financial and linguistic challenges that they face while building a solid bridge between the school, its parents and the surrounding community.  A critical intervention is to increase the employability of its participating parents. As a result theme specific trainings and workshops are offered such as baking and upholstery as well as on starting a small business. Parents are also connected to community resources and local organizations that further advance their goals.

Richard Buery, President and CEO of the Children’s Aid Society and Richard Negron, the Community Schools Director, addressed the parents to let them know that their accomplishments were instrumental not only in their own lives but in the lives of their children. The parents were applauded by many of the local elected officials of the Washington Heights community. Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, Council Members Robert Jackson and Ydanis Rodriguez, State Assembly Member Herman Farrell and State Senator Adriano Espaillat all reiterated that the graduates had achieved great things and were on a path of being more successful in their lives overall. Senator Espaillat presented a proclamation to the parents and staff of the institute, which was especially important given his role in the planning and start-up of the Institute. The Senator also presented Certificates of Achievement to the parents.

The exhibit showcased the hard work these parents had accomplished all year long. The cafeteria was decorated with beautiful handmade jewelry, stellar cakes, handmade clothing and curtains. The day’s event exuded pride not only of the successes achieved by these graduates but of the entire Washington Heights community.