United Way of Lake County and HACES expand parent mentor program

Waukegan parents invited to step into classrooms to help bridge learning gaps

GURNEE – United Way of Lake County and Hispanic American Community Education and Services announced a partnership and collaboration to deliver an expanded Parent Mentor program that puts parents in the classroom to mentor Waukegan students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Parents are trained as mentors and volunteer in a classroom four times a week for a minimum of 100 hours a semester. Parent mentors provide direct support to students to improve their math and literacy skills and provide additional social-emotional support, according to a United Way news release.

Parent mentors have weekly training on financial literacy, computer skills, leadership and more. They help to fill the equity gap by volunteering in schools and creating positive change through parent engagement.

The program has English-speaking and Spanish-speaking mentors with the goal to serve more than 600 students this school year in five Waukegan elementary schools – Carman-Buckner, Glen Flora, Glenwood, North and Lyon Magnet.

“After a successful first year, it became clear that there was a need for even more parental involvement,” Maria-Elena Jonas, founder and executive director of HACES, said in the news release. “The support United Way provides will allow us to serve many more students, helping us make an even bigger impact in the community.”

“United Way of Lake County is uniquely capable of uniting resources to serve the community,” Gale Graves, vice president of Community Impact at United Way, said in the release. “We are looking forward to working with HACES and parents to support Waukegan students achieve even greater success.”

Recruitment is underway for parents to serve in the classroom for two hours a day in their child’s school. The program is open to parents who are looking to learn valuable life skills and make a positive impact on their child’s school and community. Parent mentors work one-on-one or in small groups with students who need extra support in the classroom. Parents are provided with the necessary training, offered weekly workshops on professional development skills in academic instruction and leadership and compensated with a modest stipend.

For more information, visit LIVEUNITEDlakecounty.org/parentmentors or www.haces.org/education.

Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network provides local news throughout northern Illinois