From July 30-31, 2014, The Youth Resiliency Institute participated in the White House Symposium on Transformative Family Engagement, sharing their work and message of the importance of culturally relevant family engagement with White House officials and education policymakers.
On Thursday, August 21, the Youth Resiliency Institute will host the first workshop in its “Strengths of Black Families” series in order to continue this important conversation.
The Symposium on Transformative Family Engagement was organized by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in partnership with the White House, and focused on the ways family engagement bolsters the educational and life success of children, and how such engagement can be facilitated.
The Youth Resiliency Institute, which received a half-million dollar family engagement grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in March, 2014, for its Journey Project, shared the importance of engaging and including families in their children’s education in low-income Black communities. In order to do this effectively, it must be understood that in many such communities ‘family’ does not simply mean a parent or legal guardian, but is far more expansive, often including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and even older cousins and siblings.
It also requires seeing family as a partner in, and not an obstacle to, a child’s well-being. Failing to recognize this cuts children off from an important source of support, and symbolically removes them from a broader history from which they might otherwise draw strength.
“When it’s recognized that parents are assets to their children’s education, it opens up opportunities for trust to be developed, for connections and collaborations to take place that truly provide for healthy whole child development,” said Fanon Hill, co-founder of the Youth Resiliency Institute with his wife Navasha Daya, in a microdocumentary on the institute’s work that premiered at the symposium.