Families Lay Foundation for Lasting Success During Hybrid Summit

Nearly 200 students and parents/guardians participated in GEAR UP 4 LA’s second hybrid Parent Summit on April 2, when they learned how to set short- and long-term goals, explored college and career match, and developed strategies on how to improve communication for successful futures.

The summit, themed “Building Powerful Futures: Stronger Together,” was held at Huntington Park High School. It was GEAR UP’s first large-scale in-person event in over two years.

“Parents and students had a great time,” GU4LA Family Engagement Specialist Frida Samayoa said. “They had the opportunity to meet their peers and set guidelines to create a plan for their future – together as a family.”

GEAR UP’s Parent Summits are empowering opportunities for families to gain college and career knowledge, increase leadership skills, and learn how to be active and participate in their student’s postsecondary journey.

For parent Guadalupe Valadez, the Summit provided her tools and resources to support her student’s academic journey.

“I came because I need help as a parent to learn how to motivate, how to guide my child toward being successful – not just in college but in the different paths my student can take,” said Valadez, whose student is a sophomore at Huntington Park Institute of Applied Medicine on the Linda Esperanza Marquez High School campus.

“This pandemic year devastated my student,” she added. “There are other parents who come here, and they are struggling just like me. We don’t know everything.”

During GU4LA’s smaller first hybrid Parent Summit, which took place in November at Roybal Learning Center, families learned about financial aid, dual enrollment opportunities, and available family and community support.

This time around, parents and students both explored topics to enhance their relationships at home and discussed strategies to support college and career journeys in and beyond high school.

“Via Zoom, I had the opportunity to participate and receive the information that GEAR UP offers us – information that, as a parent, I’ve learned regarding my children’s education. We’ve missed all of this in-person information to be able to educate ourselves and our children.”

Claudia Bonilla, parent of a #GEARUPworks student at Huntington Park High School

GEAR UP staff discussed how families can work to set short- and long-term SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound) goals to achieve and measure personal and academic progress. Families also learned the benefits of going to college and the importance of discussing career goals. To help strengthen the partnership between parents and students, staff shared approaches to improve communication around topics like college preparation, academic progress, and the future.

“It was a wonderful feeling to see our GEAR UP families in person,” Samayoa said. “We are proud to raise our GEAR UP children together with all our love and dedication.”

A third Parent Summit for remaining GU4LA schools will be held in May at Monroe High School.