Education Spotlight: Program helps Merced County parents become leaders in community

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- In ABC30's segment, Education Spotlight, Action News Anchor Landon Burke will talk with Merced County Office of Education (MCOE) officials about some of the biggest topics in education.

The Parent Leadership Training Institute is recruiting now. Landon Burke spoke with an alumna of the program, who explained how the program helped her find empowerment as a parent and community member.

Landon: Karla, would you get started by just telling us a little bit about yourself and your involvement in this organization?

Karla Navarez-Flores: Yes, absolutely. My name is Karla Narvaez-Flores, and I am a community member of the city of Merced. I have been living here for 15 years, and I just graduated from this institute, the Parent Leadership Training Institute, in August.

Landon: Tell me a little bit about what kind of things you did with the institute.

Karla: I was able to start my community project. That's the reason why family members, parents and community members at large, are enjoying this awesome nationally recognized institute, and they can, with the help of the facilitators and awesome people who joined every single class, develop a community project. In my case, my community project is called "Clean Streets Make You Happy." At the beginning, I thought that my project was going to be very hard to start because I was very new to organizing a community-based project. But then, every week, with the involvement of every single classmate, and the people who were invited to help us connect with the appropriate person in the community was able to finish my project. We also had other success stories as well of people doing their best to try to change the community with the project.

Landon: What would you say to someone who's maybe kind of on the fence about getting involved in the institute? Would you recommend they give it a shot?

Karla: Absolutely. Because in my experience, before joining this training, I had the preconceived idea that in order to be a leader in the community, in order to be an agent of change where you live, you need already to be somebody with influence, maybe you needed a lot of financial resources, and maybe you need to be on TV or have a lot of followers in your social network, somebody who needed to have that stuff in order to be a leader. However, in every single class, we were taught new skills that we developed over the weeks. Now, we understand that, no matter how small you think your project is, you are going to make that change in your community.
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