GEAR UP 4 LA on Nov. 6 held its first hybrid Parent Summit for families who gathered virtually or in person at Edward R. Roybal Learning Center to learn strategies on how to continue supporting their student’s postsecondary journey and lifelong success.
Themed “Building Powerful Futures: Strong Together!” the Parent Summit provided close to 50 families the chance to participate in sessions on financial aid, dual enrollment opportunities for their students, and family and community support outside of the classroom.
“It is so important for our families to not only feel welcome but know that we are partners in our joint effort to prepare their children for the next step of their journey,” GU4LA Family Engagement Specialist Frida Samayoa said.
“We are here to support families in gaining college and financial aid knowledge and developing leadership skills for their students’ postsecondary success,” she added.
During the Chicano-a Latino-a Educational Foundation’s (CLEF) sessions on financial aid, presenters emphasized that college is possible, affordable, and potentially free through state and federal financial aid, scholarships, and work-study opportunities.
GEAR UP staff presented a session on dual enrollment, which allows students to take such community college courses as ASL, child development, and logistics while enrolled in high school.
Study Smart Tutors’ sessions included tips on how to support students in the transition to higher education and their future career while helping parents process their own feelings about the next step.
Manuela Lopez participated in the Parent Summit to support her daughter, a ninth-grade GU4LA Peer Mentor at Belmont High School.
“I want to thank everyone at GEAR UP for supporting us and our children,” said Lopez, whose older daughter is a GEAR UP alumna now attending UC Berkeley.
“They empower us – and the community – to participate and look to the future,” Lopez said. “It can be challenging with our children, but knowing what help GEAR UP provides, we can support our children and future generations.”
In addition to the sessions, the Parent Summit allowed families to transition back to in-person events and re-familiarize themselves with the power of parent participation.
“As a new GEAR UP team member, I was able to experience the power of parents coming together with unity, dedication, and a big eagerness to learn,” said Sara Rodriguez, a GU4LA parent engagement support assistant (PESA) at Obama Global Prep Academy who was able to meet with parents for the first time.
Parents were eager to meet with other parents, engage with the GEAR UP team and gain valuable knowledge. They also felt comfortable asking questions, engaging in conversation, and fostering new relationships.
“Events like the Parent Summit truly make a difference within the community, as they engage everybody with the purpose of supporting our future generations,” Rodriguez said.