WATERBURY—State Representative Selim Noujaim today congratulated 26 Greater Waterbury area parents on their decision to participate in the Parent Leadership Training Institute, a 20-week program that will sharpen their leadership and civics skills and enhance their ability to make positive changes for children in their communities. The parents, who hail from Waterbury, Naugatuck, Bristol, Oxford and Torrington, were attending a kick-off retreat at Waterbury Hospital designed to promote group cohesion within the group. “I know 20 weeks is a long time, but once you complete your training, you will have acquired valuable skills that will help you be more effective advocates for your children, your neighborhoods and your towns,” said Representative Noujaim, R-Waterbury. “Knowing where to go and which city and state officials you need to contact is essential to the success of your projects and proposals. If you are not a voter, I would strongly urge you to register, vote and play as active a role as you can in your communities.”
The program, which is offered by the Connecticut Commission on Children, is open to all parents, grandparents, step-parents or foster parents regardless of race, class, culture or economic status. There is no charge for the training, which takes place on weekday evenings. Child-care is available for those who need it. The class also provides a family meal each evening before the class starts.
There are three components to the PLTI course. The first is the full day retreat. The second is the first 10 weeks of the class, which is led by two facilitators. It focuses on perceptions of leadership and includes subjects such as assessing and defining problems, utilizing the media and public speaking.
The second ten weeks are led by a single facilitator and include topics such as budgets, systems, and how city, state and federal laws work.
The PLTI assists parents in navigating the public system. One way they acquire the skills is by choosing a civic project they complete utilizing the skills they have been taught.
Community projects completed by previous Waterbury classes include the development of a boundless playground for special needs children; an after-school program focused on manners and non-violence; a candlelight vigil for Shaken Baby Syndrome; and the installation of a stop sign on a busy corner in a residential area.
At the end of the 20-week course, there is a local graduation as well as a state graduation at the state capitol. Every graduate receives an official citation from the governor for having completed the training. An Alumni Association provides continued training and leadership opportunities for graduates.