COLORADO SPRINGS – For the organization Parents Challenge, helping students succeed in the classroom means setting them up for success at home.
The organization provides resources, programs and assistance for parents and students for families whose income qualify for free and reduced lunch.
“When I say education, it’s not just the academic aspect,” said Deborah Hendrix, executive director, “When you can support a family in all aspects of their lives that makes them a stronger unit.”
The programs can be for students, such as tutoring and mentorship programs, or for parents, such as nutritional or financial literacy programs.
Hendrix says that the organization recognizes that not every student’s family has the ability to buy an instrument for music, a computer for the classroom, or afford tutoring.
“The ability for them to be able to participate in a program, we’re able to provide that. For kids who already have means, those resources are already provided for them,” Hendrix said.
In the past 18 months the need for technology has become even greater. Hendrix says the families in their program, averaging four to five children per household, didn’t have enough computers if they had one at all.
The group worked to get the needed equipment throughout the pandemic.
“We were trying to make sure that our families weren’t left behind we did what ever we needed to do to provide those resources,” Hendrix said.
Parents Challenge has given out over $3 million in grants and scholarships to more than 2,400 students, but the money isn’t free.
The organization requires parents to attend parenting classes, families to volunteer and students and parents to journal the students’ academics every semester.
“To say, how is your child doing, how are they doing in school, what are the activities that you’ve had them involved in and how can Parents Challenge support you in continuing to advocate for your child,” Hendrix said.
Hendrix’s goal is to support 275 students this year. The total amount of families will likely be more, when resources like nutritional information and WIFI are provided to homes with four to five children.
With the Give! campaign, she thinks the organization will be able to help more families than they have in the past.
“Sometimes parents need that extra push so that they know that we care about them and we just want them, their families and their scholars to do well,” she said.