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October 24, 2002 parents proud of taking part in community development program



by Valérie Racine

Parents received participation certificates with pride on Nov. 1 for taking part of Concordia’s Institute in Management and Community Development’s (IMCD) 2002 Summer Program.

The second annual ceremony, held this year in Parc-Extension, was an example of the successful collaboration among community organizations, including the Third Avenue Resource Centre and the Parc-Extension Youth Organization.

Mireille Landry, a coordinator at the Institute, explained that the Summer Program underlines Concordia University’s efforts to reach out to communities in Montreal.

The week-long bilingual program, which celebrated its 10th year in June 2002, is designed to equip its participants with the tools needed in community development. Participants reflect on social change and share their experiences on community action. This year, 900 people took part in the Summer Program, including 62 parents particularly interested in their children’s public education.

These “graduates” celebrated with jazz music and a light buffet of pizzas, salads and desert. Colourful posters decorated the walls of the Parc-Extension Youth Organization. Luisa Durante, from the Third Avenue Resource Centre, explained that these posters represented the parents’ feedback.

Michael James, a parent involved in last summer’s program, shared his experience during the ceremony. Through Parents in Action for Education and the two workshops he attended at the Loyola Campus last summer, James claimed that he now “stands much wiser.”

Like many other parents at the ceremony, James is a recent immigrant. A Pakistani now living in Montreal, James confided that networks of community organizations help immigrants to become “more integrated in the society and become more useful citizens in Canada.”

Maria Sinopha David, a participant and trainer in the program, also emphasized the important role the organizations play in the societal integration of newcomers in Montreal.

“I think the Summer Program helps parents get involved in their children’s education because it gives them the resources they need,” she said.

“The better resources they have, the better they will integrate and play an active role in public education.” David is the president of the governing board of her child’s school.
Landry congratulated the parents who were at the ceremony, emphasizing the need to continue “to build tools and understanding.”

She also invited the parents to get involved in the Parents’ Planning Committee. This committee, active from October to February, is a new initiative aimed at encouraging the participation of parents in planning the 2003 Summer Program.

James, who is already involved in the committee, said that one change he would like to see in the program is longer and more intensive workshops. “One week was too short,” he said. “I was left thirsty for more.”