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DYS recognizes 39 parent leaders

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THE Division of Youth Services on Friday recognized 39 parents, who have been DYS partners in developing programs.

“The parents we are recognizing are advocates for the health, safety, and welfare of children and families and are actively engaged in school functions and community events,” DYS Director Vivian Sablan said during the National Parent Leadership Month proclamation signing at the Kagman Community Center.

The parents, she said, were nominated by schools.

One of the awardees was Kiki Igitol-Benjamin whose children are attending Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary School, Tanapag Middle School, and Kagman High School.

She was nominated by teachers of Tanapag Middle School.

“We identified parents who were very much active and involved and engaged with the school,” Tanapag Middle School principal Hilda Rios said. “We had several nominees and the teachers voted [for] who they felt best represent the school and the parents.”

Benjamin, for her part, thanked the teachers and school staff for supporting the Parent Teacher Student Association. “I want to share this award with all the parent leaders and teachers at our school because with their support, our work is a bit easier,” she said.

The Division of Youth Services on Friday recognized 39 parent leaders during the Parent Leadership Month proclamation ceremony at the Kagman Community Center. Also in photo are Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Secretary Robert Hunter, Division of Youth Services Vivian Sablan and first lady Diann T. Torres.  Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

Through parent leadership programs, Rios said they have seen a big improvement in their school as far as parent involvement is concerned.

“We have been getting more parental involvement. Our numbers have gone up,” she said, referring to PTSA attendance.

This school year, Tanapag Middle School has 184 students. Rios said about 30 percent of these children’s parents are actively involved in school activities, PTSA meetings, and conferences.

“That is a huge gain,” Rios said. “In the past, we only had 15 percent [of] parents involved. That number is growing — a slow growth but it is improving, and it has something to do with the Parent Leadership program.”

Rios expressed appreciation for Benjamin’s leadership. “For the first time in many years, we finally have someone trying to really move things forward with the needs of the parents,” Rios added.

Benjamin, who is the PTSA president at Tanapag Middle School, and other PTSA officials have been active in organizing events that support the needs of the parents and the school, Rios said.

She encourages other parents to get more involved in their children’s education. “Research shows that the more parents are engaged in their kids’ education, the more successful the children will be or the chances of them becoming more successful increases,” Rios said.

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