The Power of Parent Empowerment: A Story from Detroit

The city of Detroit has long faced significant challenges in providing children with a quality education. For many parents in the city, navigating the complex education system can be daunting, leaving them feeling disempowered and unable to advocate effectively for their children. However, one organization is working to change this by empowering parents and transforming the education landscape in the city.

Detroit Parent Network (DPN) is a premier parent organization that aims to transform parents and make Detroit a better place to raise and educate children. The organization’s Executive Director, Sharlonda Buckman, has dedicated almost a decade to working with parents and caregivers in Detroit, helping them become powerful advocates for their children’s education. Under Buckman’s leadership, DPN offers a range of workshops, leadership development programs, and practical tools designed to equip parents with the knowledge and skills they need to navigate the education system effectively.

Through its work, DPN seeks to improve parent involvement in education and build stronger, more vibrant communities in Detroit. The organization works with any parent or primary caregiver of a school-age child (ages 4-17) who lives in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park. DPN’s membership model ensures that the organization is responsive to parents’ interests and needs and invites parents to join the organization.

Buckman’s journey to leading DPN began with her work at the Warren/Conner Development Coalition, where she worked with parents to improve their engagement with schools and community organizations. Since joining DPN, Buckman has worked tirelessly to build a movement of parents and caregivers committed to advocating for their children’s education and building stronger, more vibrant communities in Detroit.

Detroit Parent Network’s programs and initiatives have significantly impacted families and communities throughout Detroit. One of the organization’s most successful initiatives is the Parent Connector program, which pairs trained volunteers with parents to provide one-on-one support and advocacy. The program has helped hundreds of parents navigate the education system, connect with community resources, and advocate for their children’s needs.

DPN also offers a range of workshops and training programs designed to equip parents with the skills they need to be effective advocates for their children’s education. From financial literacy to college readiness, DPN’s workshops provide practical tools and insights that help parents navigate the complex education landscape and prepare their children for success.

In addition to its work with parents, DPN is also involved in broader community initiatives to build stronger, more equitable cities. The organization partners with local businesses, community organizations, and government agencies to promote economic development, social equity, and community empowerment.

 Sharlonda Buckman and Detroit Parent Network significantly impact families and communities throughout Detroit. By empowering parents and building stronger, more vibrant communities, DPN is transforming the education landscape in the city and creating a brighter future for all.

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