February is Parent Leadership Month! Parent leadership is a critical way for families to build upon their strengths, which leads to strong communities and healthy children. Circle of Parents groups–support groups that provide a community where caregivers support each other–are places where parent leaders shine. 

This month, Illuminate will be diving into why parent leaders are integral to strong communities, how parents can grow into leadership roles, and the importance of recognizing and celebrating the work of parent leaders. Join us!

What is a Parent Leader?

Being a leader can look different for every parent. Toni Miner, Circle of Parents program manager at Illuminate Colorado, explained that parent leaders might start out by volunteering at their child’s school, joining a parent-teacher association, or providing support to other parents. Parents who take on leadership roles within a Circle of Parents group, referred to as Parent Leads, take on the responsibility of helping to lead the group and facilitate a productive and supportive discussion. Parent Leads have lived experiences and perspectives that allow them not only to authentically relate to their peers, but also to provide structure and support to group discussions.

Meet Toni

Circle of Parents Program Manager

Becoming a Parent Lead

Every parent’s journey in becoming a leader for their family and community looks different, and we should honor the experiences of parents who come from all backgrounds. Parents who are on their journey to becoming a Parent Lead for their Circle of Parents group, Miner said, might contribute by being the timekeeper for meetings, greeting other parents as they arrive, contributing to group meals, or helping to clean up after meetings. Any and all acts of giving time and partnership help to build important parent leadership skills. 

When identifying potential Parent Leads, Miner explained that she supports parents in being open to learning, as well as understanding how to maintain healthy boundaries and relationships with other group members. These are important skills in being a Parent Lead because they play an essential role in setting the foundation for how the group is run.

After building their leadership skills, parents can become official Parent Leads by completing a facilitator training, where they learn about relationships based on equality and respect, what it means to practice shared leadership in a Circle of Parents setting, and how the program model utilizes the five protective factors of child maltreatment prevention. 

Learn more about the Circle of Parents model and the five protective factors here.

Parent Leads are integral to the Circle of Parents model.

They are peers of those in their group, support others in developing leadership skills within their families and communities, and contribute an authentic voice to group discussions. The work of Parent Leads helps to strengthen Colorado families and communities, resulting in brighter childhoods for all children. This month, we place a special emphasis on and celebrate their contributions. 

Interested in recognizing the parent leaders in your community?

Check out the Children’s Trust Fund Alliance’s resources for requesting, supporting, or accepting a proclamation of February as Parent Leadership Month.

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