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New Jersey Parent Leadership Month – Celebrating Parents for 10 years

In 2003, February was designated as National Parent Leadership Month. Since that time, Parents Anonymous® of New Jersey, Inc. has used February to hold regional celebrations honoring initially just Parent Leaders in the Parents Anonymous® Program. Five years ago we made the decision to open our celebration and invite organizational partners throughout the state to recognize and honor their Parent Leaders.

This year two Parent Leadership Breakfasts were held, one in Camden County in collaboration with the Camden County Community Planning and Advocacy Council (CPAC )and in Newark at the BF Johnson Community Center. Record numbers of Parent Leaders attended to celebrate the importance of meaningful parent involvement in families, programs and communities.

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Over 285 Parent Leaders were recognized this year with four special awards given to nominated Parent Leaders and Professionals. The South Jersey Jolly K award, named for the Parents Anonymous® Founder, was presented to Henrietta Washington acknowledging her leadership and tenacious voice for parents living in Camden. The Juanita Chavez Award (Parent Champion) was presented to Lisa Gates who has facilitated a Parents Anonymous® group at the Cumberland, Salem, and Gloucester Family Support Organization for over five years. Camden Freeholder Carmen Rodriquez welcomed and congratulated the Parent Leaders and read a proclamation from Camden Mayor Dana Redd. CPAC CEO Diana Crone thanked her Parent Leadership Council and organizational sponsors and along with Parents Anonymous® of New Jersey Executive Director, Kathleen Roe, presented the Parent Leadership Certificates to over 100 Parent Leaders.

This year a panel of parents and professionals spoke at both breakfasts about the importance of Parent Leadership. Using our annual theme, “Speak Up, Take Action and Create Change”, Parent Leaders were passionate about using their voice in their families, and communities to create change.

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In Newark at the BF Johnson Community Center over 230 parents registered to attend the Parent Leadership Breakfast. DCF Director of Family and Community Partnerships, Lisa Von Pier welcomed attendees and presented the Juanita Chavez Award (Parent Champion) to Sherrie Featherstone a Parents Anonymous Facilitator who has been doing groups for over 15 years. This year she started the first H.O.P.E.S. group for adult survivors of abuse at Newark’s Beth Israel Child Abuse Treatment Center. Executive Director Kathleen Roe presented the Jolly K Award to Ms. Hazel Smith, a community activist and Parent Leader in Newark. Special thanks were given to our oldest partner, the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network and Executive Co-Director Diana Autin and Kathleen Roe presented the Parent Leadership Certificates.

We would like to give special thanks this year to sponsors who provided tables for Parent Leaders to attend our event for no cost. These sponsors include:
• Advocates for Children of New Jersey
• The Center for Family Services
• Carl Bloomfield
• The Department of Children and Families
• The East Orange Child Development Corporation
• Family Intervention Services
• Horizon NJ Health
• Janus Solutions
• The National Institute on Family Success
• Newark Now/Fathers Now
• The Statewide Parent Advocacy Network
• The New Jersey Alliance of Family Support Organizations
• The Nicholson Foundation

Start a Parents Anonymous® Group Now:

Contact: Kathleen Roe

Phone: (609) 585-7666

E-mail: kroe@paofnj.org