Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: Orleans Public Education Network – Olivia Ding

One of the programs that excite me most at OPEN is Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI). I have been behind the scenes since the very beginning of our third cohort and I am truly ecstatic about the growth of our parents so far. PLTI Logo

I remember delivering my spiel about PLTI’s importance way back in August. I remember the faces of parents filling out applications then and there. I remember them coming in for interviews, attending their first orientation, and committing hours of every Tuesday night for this class to claim their voice in leadership and advocacy roles. Every week, I have collected their feedback for each class and viscerally experienced their frustrations with current policy and hopes for a better community.

This week was especially exciting for me because our parents submitted proposals for the community projects they have been working on all year. I am incredibly impressed with the ideas they have come up with. For instance, one of our parents is spearheading a Preschool Learning Center in the East with the goal of economic empowerment. Another parent hopes to model a “Homebase” organization that serves to educate families, single parents, and young adults on basic domestic and life skills which also operates as a community information center. Yet another parent plans to start a pregnant teen’s shelter that also focuses on male parent involvement.

It brings me profound joy to have supported a program that allows parents to hone in on community issues they want to improve. And I can not wait to see the projects that they are personally passionate about come to life. My hope for the future is that parents in New Orleans will continue to stumble upon PLTI and take advantage of the tools they need to transform their ideas into realities. Just imagine: If only 3 community projects like these found fruition for every PLTI cohort every year, what would our city look like 10, 15 years from now?

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This entry was posted on February 28, 2015 by in VISTA Field Reports.

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