Merced County Times Newspaper
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Parents ‘Dream Big’ at conference to inspire families

 

Merced County Parent Institute held its seventh annual “Dream Big” conference last Saturday, March 7th at Golden Valley High School. The event began at 8 a.m. and ran through the afternoon. The “Dream Big” conference integrates a variety of speakers, trainings, and workshops about a variety of different topics to help motivate, inspire and educate parents and their children.

“We are super excited,” said Rosa Barragan, program manager and chairperson for the Parent Conference. “The community wants change. They want different possibilities and opportunities. Our families are hungry for success and success for their children. All they need is the skills and understanding of how the system works.”

The conference aims to highlight the impact parents and their role of guidance has on their child’s life. With topics ranging from “how to deal with stress” to immigration, the workshop criteria was designed to tackle real-world problems that are currently affecting parents in the Central Valley. Workshops were instructed in English, Spanish, and Hmong. A youth workshop was also instructed based on teaching students how to live a fulfilled life through self-development.

“We build our workshops on the community needs,” Barragan explained. “For example, we have workshops on immigration. Our community has a lot of questions on immigration. We have a workshop focused on preparing your children for university without going into debt.”

“Know my Name, Face, and Story,” was the theme of the 2020 conference as the Parent Institute brought in speakers who told their personal story of struggle and the positive course their lives took when someone reached out and believed in them.

Guest Speaker Dr. Victor Rios took the stage at the Golden Valley performance theater and reflected on his troubled childhood and the power believing in others can have.

“I was on the streets stealing,” Rios told the crowd of parents. “The reason I tell you that, and why I want you to know this story, is so if you know of young people like that out there. … know that there is still hope. We shouldn’t lose hope on the young ones that are out there committing crimes. We still have the chance to bring them back, but it’s going to take a strong community, strong parenting, and strong schools for us to bring them back and not give up on them.”

Rios dropped out of high school at a young age spent time living on the streets. He was eventually incarcerated as a juvenile. He is now the associate dean of Social Sciences and a professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The conference also included guest speaker Lupe Jaime-Mileham and closing speaker Dr. Kim McMillon.

“We encourage parents to continue to come,” Barragan concluded. “If we continue to have the same support will be here to inspire and encourage our community to “Dream Big.”

“Dream Big” was sponsored by Merced County Office of Education, Merced Union High School District, HSA, First5, Golden Valley High School, Migrant Education, Merced County Early Education, All Dads Matter, Child Care Resource and Referral, Head Start, The Department of Education, California Child Care Initiative Project, and Radio Merced.

For more information on the conference and Merced Office of Educations Parent Leadership Training Institute, contact Rosa Barragan at (209) 381-6793 or by email at [email protected]

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