Padres Unidos is a grass roots community engagement model that embraces community needs, leverages its strengths and achieves civic involvement for the public good. Through a structured process, Padres Unidos identifies the challenges families face and provides them with the tools and resources required to meet their goals.
In the summer of 2010, Chapman University’s College of Educational Studies joined forces with Padres Unidos to develop a community advocacy training program for their many volunteers. The partnership began with shared goals and the desire of both organizations to become authentic partners with local communities, schools, teachers, students, and parents. It evolved into the development and execution of programs that support capacity building, affect real change, and make a positive difference.
Chapman University’s Office of Extended Education offers the co-created Community Worker’s Award program. This unique Awards program affords Padres Unidos’ parent volunteers an opportunity to be recognized as knowledgeable individuals with specialized skills. The participants take courses in growth and awareness, leadership, ethics, group dynamics, and crisis intervention for paraprofessionals. Once these core courses are successfully completed, the students then take module classes with emphasis in child/teen development, case management, parent educator, and small group facilitation. As a result of this training program, the participants foster self-sufficiency and mutual responsibility within the communities they serve and make a positive contribution to the lives of its residents.