Parents Who Lead graduates ready to serve children in community

Program trains Jacksonville parents in civic leadership


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Some Duval County parents are taking their assignment of being role models and leaders very seriously.

On Friday night, eight parent leaders graduated from Parents Who Lead, a program that trains Jacksonville parents and caregivers in civic leadership. The graduates are now ready to serve children in the Jacksonville community. 

Latrice CarMichael has worked with the Young Men's Leadership Academy to advocate for children with learning disabilities. Then she found out about a program that allows her to make a bigger impact.

“I thought I was doing a lot, but I realized through this program, there’s a lot more I could be doing," said CarMichael, a Parents Who Lead graduate. 

Motivated by her son, the Jacksonville mother signed up for Parents Who Lead. The intensive leadership program is offered by Jacksonville Public Education Fund, Duval County Public Schools and the Jacksonville Public Library. The program teaches how to read budgets and policies and how the city government works. 

“They have to do a mock hearing, so during that hearing, they have to make decisions about issues that are controversial. They also have their opportunities to directly speak with an elected official," said JPEF Community Mobilization Director Maria Metrlo.

After 20 weeks, CarMichael was among eight graduates from the program with the knowledge and tools she said she will use to enhance her community projects. 

“I saw stats just yesterday that 205 kids with disabilities drop out of school every day. We have to change that. Parents have to get on board so we can understand how this IEP process works, so we can make sure that our kids get an education they deserve," CarMichael said. 

Friday's graduation also marked the start of a new application period. The deadline is June 30. More information can be found at jaxpef.org.