My name is Jenniffer, but I’m usually known as José’s mom around his Chelsea pre-k class. José will turn five this month, and he’s a typical little boy: he loves Spider Man and enjoys going to school. Every night before he goes to bed, I read him his favorite book, Monkeys in the Bed.
My goal is to ensure that José has every opportunity in life. I’ve always wanted to be an active and engaged parent, but didn’t know how to go about this. As a native of the Dominican Republic, I found Massachusetts’ education system very difficult to understand. Stand provided the tools to help me navigate the education system through a six-week parent engagement course, Stand University for Parents (Stand UP). Since graduating from Stand UP three years ago, I’ve trained to be a member leader and now a team captain.
Last month, I had the opportunity to step away from my usual mom schedule and travel to Arizona for leadership training with Stand staff and my fellow members Elsa, Ursula, and Audrey. This was a wonderful experience where I had the opportunity to meet new people from across the US and learn how they are connected to Stand. I was so moved by the people I met and their stories; I learned what other moms were dealing with, and listened to the heartache one mother from Arizona faces just to ensure her children are safe and attending school. I walked away from this seminar grateful to Stand for giving me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain a new perspective and meet with other mothers from around the country, and to learn to leverage my story to not only make an impact on my child’s education but motivate other parents to act as well.
I love being a mother. It’s not always easy, but when you join a community of parents who are in the same situation as yourself, it’s a lot easier. I feel a renewed commitment to make a difference for José and all children in my community.
We’ve all heard the saying “it takes a village to raise a child.” Through this trip, I found my village with these mothers and my Stand colleagues. This Mother’s Day, please join me in celebrating all moms who do everything they can to help their child succeed.