This summer, we are spotlighting KIPP regions doing exemplary work in their local communities engaging families and through their advocacy work. They are a part of the KIPP Foundation’s Advocacy Fellowship and Community Engagement Community of Practice, where Community Engagement practitioners from across the KIPP network come together to address challenges they face by:
- Serving as a platform for practitioners to learn and share best practices for community engagement
- Allowing time for real-time consultancy to help practitioners troubleshoot one another’s current challenges related to community engagement
- Providing a structure for shared thought partnership with the Foundation FACE (Family, Advocacy and Community Engagement) team to build and grow KIPP’s long-term strategy for community engagement
As part of the Advocacy Fellowship, Jasmine Worles, Director of Communications and her team at KIPP Memphis Public Schools have embarked on a multi-year push to strengthen family and community engagement in their region.
Partnering with the Community
This year, as KIPP Memphis celebrated its 20th Anniversary, they hosted community events to share the news. “Through our 20th anniversary, we had several events where we’ve invited the community and local elected officials out to see what KIPP Memphis is and to celebrate that good news. It’s really about cultivating and sustaining relationships with these individuals so that when resources do come down or when we need to rally together around a certain issue, KIPP Memphis is top of mind,” said Worles.
As a collective, each KIPP Memphis school takes the lead in creating events which have ranged from Saturday movie nights to Donuts with Dad. “We recently had over a hundred plus dads come out to support their students, just to say, “Hey, we are here for you,” said Worles. “We’re always looking for opportunities to strengthen bonds with community partners and our parents but then also with our students themselves, so they have a sense of belonging to our region and to their school.”
Parents As Local Advocates
In response to listening to families’ feedback and hearing their need for necessities like household items, hygienic products, and food, pantries are being set up in every KIPP Memphis school so that students and families have access to items they may need.
The region is also on a mission to support parents to become vocal advocates around issues that matter to them. “What we would like to do next is create a cohort where a select number of our parents can participate for a specific amount of time to receive training around what advocacy looks like, who their representatives are, what issues are plaguing their community, how to affect those issues, and how to rally and organize together to be a voice and affect change,” said Worles.
“Our parents are very aware of the issues that impact them if anybody knows them more intimately, it’s them, and we want to equip them with the tools and resources to not only be a source of activation for our region when we need advocacy but also in their everyday life too.”
By: Choyce Miller, Senior Manager of Communications, and Brittney Cousins, Senior Manager of Community Impact at the KIPP Foundation