Last November, we announced renewal funding for our parent leadership programs with Family Focus, Metropolitan Family Services, and Youth Guidance.  This funding supported a second year of service for  evidence-based parenting programs (B-PROUD and Parenting Fundamentals).  Both programs use effective approaches to improve skills for parents of high-risk youth in Austin, Englewood, Humboldt Park, North Lawndale, Roseland, and West Englewood.

Year two officially kicked off in February, and each organization has made a concentrated effort to reach the families who can most benefit from extra support.  They increased outreach at local schools and community locations, hosted sessions after work hours and on the weekends, and made new partnerships with youth programs, food pantries, and social service providers.  Through the end of April, they had already engaged 250 parents.

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Parent graduates at the MFS Parenting Fundamentals program at Medgar Evers in June 2016

The B-PROUD and Parenting Fundamentals curricula are the heart of each program, but each organization also offers additional special events, workshops, and supportive services.  For example, one organization also enrolled a number of parents in GED, job training, and financial literacy classes and placed graduates in jobs.  All programs share goals of graduating at least 80% of their parents, increasing positive parenting knowledge, and building skills in child development, non- violent discipline, communication, and problem solving.

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Family engagement events and workshops are a critical component of Youth Guidance’s work with parents

Feedback about the programs so far has been incredibly positive.  After the first reporting period, staff members shared the following:

“At first I was hesitant and ignored your calls to schedule a one-on-one. Now I have a better relationship with my 16-year-old daughter; we are enjoying each other and communicating. Parenting Fundamentals is the best thing that has happened to me!” – parent, Metropolitan Family Services

“During a particularly challenging Parent/Teacher Conference, one of our parents expressed feeling empowered to advocate for herself and her family – and noted that she felt more connected to the school community.” – staff, Youth Guidance

“As the program came to an end, I realized that if my children will achieve in life, I need to understand them, be there for them. I also learned that my children’s future depends on the environment I will provide them at home. The presenter made me feel so comfortable to be a part of this educating program, Thank You Very Much!” – parent, Family Focus

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Scenes from B-PROUD at Family Focus

“In addition to parents expressing that the program is “working” for them, our parents are beginning to build a strong BPROUD community, recruiting other parents, and initiating a phone/email tree to remind each other about programming. – staff, Family Focus

“My mom is different and now we do more things together.” – child of parent in program, Metropolitan Family Services

In May, Chicago Youth Centers (CYC) also finished their first year of service with the B-PROUD program in South Shore.  Participants at CYC spent the year practicing how to foster social emotional learning at home with their children, handle conflict effectively, balance love and discipline, give choices with boundaries, and foster ongoing and cooperative communication.

“I just wanted to say that I have really enjoyed these Parenting Workshops these past few weeks. I am going to be sad when these weeks are up, because I am applying everything that we are discussing… How you engage with your attendees, break things down where everyone understands, and how you put the “we can” energy in what you are presenting is remarkable.” – parent, Chicago Youth Centers

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Participants in Chicago Youth Center’s parent program had high praise for their facilitator Dushunda (far left) – “You can hold a candle to Les Brown and Oprah Winfrey any day in my book. People pay thousands for that type of “seminar energy”, and you are just as qualified!”

To learn more about parenting programs or register, reach out to the following programs currently in service:

  • Englewood, Humboldt Park, North Lawndale: Family Focus
    Contact Kasheryl Thomas, Englewood Coordinator (
  • Austin and Englewood: Youth Guidance
    Contact Della Ezell, Program Manager, Parent and Family Engagement (
  • Roseland and Englewood: Metropolitan Family Services
    Contact Katharine Bensinger, Parenting Fundamentals Program Director (