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West Side school launches Parent University 

Parents in the North Lawndale neighborhood attending the innovative “Parent University” at Holy Family School on January 11 were able to select from a catalog of academic and life skills courses ranging from math and reading tools, financial literacy, and parenting supports, to life skills, nutrition, and culinary arts.

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HOLY FAMILY MINISTRIES serves more than 600 children in its four programs. This toddler might well be a student in the Little Learners Academy early childhood development program.

Holy Family School (K-8) and Little Learners Academy (Jr. Kindergarten) welcomed more than 100 parents and guardians to its inaugural Parent University at the Holy Family Ministries Center, 3415 W. Arthington St.

Local community-based organizations such as Taproots Inc., a social service agency offering educational outreach to young parents and families on Chicago’s West Side provided subject matter instruction.

“Through our School Advisory Board, PTO and parent teacher conferences, parents expressed the need for support in a number of categories,” school Principal Dr. Candace Smith commented. “As we discussed how best to meet these needs, we concluded that a Parent University early in 2020 was just the ticket.”

Smith added, “It’s been both fun and encouraging to organize. Community organizations have been happy to pitch in, and the enthusiastic responses we’re getting from students’ parents and guardians have been terrific.”

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MATH SKILLS ARE needed throughout life. A parent works with math flash cards during a class, acquiring skills that will allow her to better help her children with their math assignments.

Holy Family Ministries CEO Cheryl Collins reflected, “The need for the courses we offered on Saturday isn’t limited to just the Holy Family community. Parents are their child’s first and most important teacher. We want to help parents and guardians acquire the skills and resources to ensure their children are learning and growing while away from school.”

With the success of Parent University, she explained, “we’d hope to open this highly successful program to more parents or guardians on the West Side who are wrestling with one or more of these topics.”

Holy Family Ministries serves more than 600 children and youth combined, across four programs: Holy Family School, serving students in grades K-8; Little Learners Academy early childhood development program; the Adventures in Learning afterschool program; and the Peace Exchange peace education and training program.

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