Growing up, home wasn’t always stable. My mother struggled with addictions and couldn’t care for me or my siblings. By the time I was in fifth grade, we were all adopted by my great aunt. She instilled in us the importance of education, but she wasn’t always able to be as hands-on because she worked so much, being a single mother to five children she hadn’t planned on raising.
While my home life was shaky, all my memories of school are good ones. I loved going to the fieldhouse in elementary school with my siblings for the after-school program. I loved playing sports. I remember a normal curriculum with spelling bees and science fairs.
By the time I was in middle school, my great aunt was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. She retired within a few years of being diagnosed and opened a restaurant in Chicago, where we lived and where I attended high school. It was during those years that I would fall in love and meet my now husband. That changed my plans. I thought I would go to a college, but I didn’t. I didn’t plan on moving to Indianapolis, but we did.
Looking back on my life today, I reflect on my hopes for my own children. I want them to receive a great education and become well-rounded adults. And while my aunt couldn’t always be hands-on, I can be – and Stand for Children has shown me how. Now I always know how my children are doing in school, have relationships with their teachers, and show up to every school event possible.
I know that if I stay involved with my kids and their education, I can ensure they don’t become a statistic.
Through Stand, I’ve learned that not every school is the same. Some schools have opportunity gaps. Some schools are failing. Some schools are closing those gaps, and some are succeeding. I’ve also learned that together, we parents can help make every school a great school.
I want other parents to know that it’s never too late. Being involved with your children’s education and advocating for them shows them you care. Today, you can be involved in your child’s education. Today, you can become a parent advocate. Today, you can Stand for Children.