Parents Reaching Out Grants

St Ann Catholic School – Sault Ste. Marie

Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board
Feel the Energy

Parents Reaching Out grants help parents to identify barriers to parent engagement in their own community, and find local solutions to get more parents involved. Parents who are involved in their children's education help to support their children's achievement and well-being.

This video is part of a series that features successful parent engagement projects funded through the Ministry of Education's Parents Reaching Out (PRO) grants.

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Lorena Bresson [Parent Volunteer]:

Feel the Energy Wellness Fair was set up as a wellness fair with a broad spectrum of agencies that participated or community partners. As well we wanted the parents to feel comfortable coming into the school, gathering the information, participating and then taking the information home to their families.

Denise Foster [Public Health Nurse]:

I was one of thirty community partners selected to participate in the event in the wellness fair. I am the public health nurse that works with St Ann's so as such I was involved in the planning and the implementation of the wellness fair. It was a very wonderful, very rewarding event for myself as well as many of the community partners who participated.

Denise Foster [Teacher at St. Ann]:

I think it is really important that we are well rounded. In school if the kid's physical and emotional needs aren't met, they are not going to be learning, so the fact that we have events like this that parents can come to and learn more information, if they are struggling a little bit with their families, it definitely is a help and it will affect their learning and they will be more effective in their classroom.

Lorena Bresson [Parent Volunteer]:

Because we really believe at St. Ann's school every child is important, every parent is important and if we can get the parents through the school for something fun, something they can learn about, they are apt to come back. And we also know that children of parents who participate in the school, do better and that's really our goal is to get the parents through the door.

Denise Foster [Public Health Nurse]:

Well the child is not just a single individual. He has his community members, he has his parents, his grandparents, the person who lives next door to him and many other individual who impact on his health and well being and this wellness fair gave us the opportunity to bring those partners together and its, as the old African expression goes, it takes the community to build a child and we can't impress on that enough that it's not just one individual, it is not just the teachers, it is not just public health, it is not just the parents, it is all those individuals together who bring the source together and build on the optimum health of that child.

Denise Foster [Teacher at St. Ann]:

The more that we can have families, parents, grandparents into the school learning about what their children are doing. It will help the education of the children, they will be excited to come to school, the children will be excited to go home and tell their parents what they are learning and the parents will have a better understanding of what goes on in the school which will optimally help the children learn best.

Lorena Bresson [Parent Volunteer]:

Parents Reaching Out program is very important. I was the one responsible to submit them over the last few years. It always takes someone to kind of spearhead it to submit them but it’s definitely worth it. I think it is a great way to come up with an idea that will involve parents, involves the students and involves the community members. Again it gives us the funds to be able to do those things that we may not necessarily have at our disposal, and it allows us that connection with the Ministry of Education and the school board.

Denise Foster [Public Health Nurse]:

Well I found that the involvement was incredible. I have never attended a particular event that has had such a high degree of parent involvement and not just parents, grandparents and other community members who presented themselves to this event and were very very involved. It wasn't just a walk through, it was an interactive booths where at each one of the booths, at each one of the stations, parents took a direct interest whether it was something to do with the advancements of our community such as our worm farm, our environmental health firm, whether it was our heart and stroke with the information that was provided with cardiac health or whether it was our booths where we were encouraging the healthy eating and so for the children, it was really imperative that the parents got to see exactly what was offered within our community and be able to be a part of their child's health education.

Joan Polocicio [Parent]:

I was quite impressed like I said with the diversity and the willingness of the community to participate and there was a lot of good information for parents and I think for the children as well. The gym was full you know, there was very little room to move around and there was a lot of socializing going on which was you know again that was another side benefit that we all enjoyed.

Denise Foster [Teacher at St. Ann]:

I was the school and staff rep on the committee but the teachers were invited to the event, all the teachers came. The event was held after school so the teachers took time out of their day to join the students and the parents and work together and explore the different sections and stations together and it was just a nice fostering community event.

Denise Foster [Public Health Nurse]:

The Pro Grant gives us the opportunities for the families to interact directly with the school in a non-invasive method. It is very intimidating for many families to come forward and present themselves into the school. There is often that ivory tower feeling with schools where they do not feel welcome. The Pro Grant has given us for the last several years the opportunity to get the parents involved with the school, to be able to see exactly what is happening within the school and to have a comfort within that school. We have had greater involvement year after year in the Pro Grant committees, in the involvement of a number of individuals and also we are seeing much more impact that parents are actually excited about the events as were being advertised.

To learn more visit: www.ontario.ca/EDUparents