This is What Volunteering Looks Like

Parent & Family Engagement | 05/01/2018

LaToya Tahirou
IPS Parent Advocate

LaToya Tahirou is a parent volunteer and parent representative on Stand for Children Indiana's advisory board.

It was a simple phone call in May of 2016 that began my affiliation with Stand for Children Indiana. I was invited by Ashley Thomas, a family organizer at Stand, to a meeting about our long-time failing neighborhood school John Marshall. The school had a horrific series of academic failures. Ashley wanted us to lead a petition drive to push for positive changes at John Marshall. The next thing I knew I was canvassing the neighborhood for signatures and connecting with other parents and community members.

Our hard work paid off. A decision was made to separate the middle and high school students at John Marshall which made the learning environment a safer place to learn.

Since then I've been an active volunteer for Stand Indiana. Stand empowered me as a parent. They helped me realize I have a voice and I can do my part to shape what my children's educational opportunities look like. My testimony, my voice, my thoughts and my ideas matter and can make a difference.

I've spoke at several IPS board meetings in support of the reconfiguration of our city's high schools to become college and career driven. I've been interviewed by newspaper and television reporters on education issues. I've even testified before a state senate committee to discuss the importance of teacher residency. These are things I never in a million years saw myself doing. I was actually super nervous. It was the fact that my kids deserved better educational opportunities which gave me the courage to speak out and stand up.

I also serve as a parent representative on Stand Indiana's advisory board. Right now, myself and other volunteers have toured academically successful schools with demographics that match several of our city's struggling and failing schools. Our intent is to suggest and assist IPS to replicate these models. We've met with IPS Superintendent Dr. Ferebee to discuss our efforts.

It is extremely rewarding to do my small little part to improve educational opportunities for not just my kids but all kids.

Are you ready to take the plunge and volunteer a little time to help IPS students get the quality education they deserve? If you are, please click here and we will reach out to you about how you can get involved. If you have any questions contact us at INinfo@stand.org

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