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  Mailman School
  of Public Health
  Columbia University
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Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI)
Leadership Development: General

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> COFI -More Information

> Community Building and Community Organizing: Creating Effective Models

> From Parents to Strong Community Leaders



COFI helps parents build leadership skills that will enable them to become more involved in their children's education and to work toward bringing change to their schools and communities.  Parents who participate in COFI training, develop their leadership capacity in three ways:  at the personal level, as family leaders and as community members. The COFI training model includes three developmental phases: Leadership Basics, Community Outreach and Visioning and Parent Leaders as Organizers.  Parent Action Teams, formed after the initial phase of the training, work together to identify broader-based goals and build local constituencies to achieve them.  Parents learn basic methods of community outreach, such as how to conduct door-to-door campaigns.  Parents move on to become trainers for other parents, which produces a continually widening circle of parents skilled at affecting school and community policy on behalf of their children's success. 

(Adapted from information in America's Family Support Magazine, Spring 1999, Vol. 18, Parent Leadership Training Programs,http://www.familysupportamerica.org/
, and used with the permissions of Family Support America and Community Organizing and Family Issues) 


Evaluation


COFI's nontraditional model of community organizing has helped over 800 low-income families in Chicago become successful advocates and leaders for themselves and their communities.

(Adapted from information in America's Family Support Magazine, Spring 1999, Vol. 18, "Parent Leadership Training Programs," http://www.familysupportamerica.org/, and used with the permissions of Family Support America and Community Organizing and Family Issues)


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Community Organizing and Family Issues

We went out in the community to survey as a group, as a team. We asked, "What are the best things in the community?" Then we asked what needed to change. We heard a call for more cops in the streets, for more clean-ups, and to stop all the shooting and hitting of kids. We heard a need for job training and to help kids do better in school. After all the surveys were finished, we held a meeting with parents, community leaders and politicians. Then we talked about what we needed to do for our community. We set three goals:  to increase students' test scores, to improve community safety and to help people in the community get into job training programs. At first, I was shy.  I wouldn't dare talk to anybody, but then I said, "let's give it a shot."  Now, I'm a new Local School Council Member, and a leader in our community group. I know we will succeed. Nancy Santiago, Chicago, IL

(Excerpted from information in America's Family Support Magazine, Spring 1999, Vol. 18, "Parent Leadership Training Programs," http://www.familysupportamerica.org/, and used with the permissions of Family Support America and Community Organizing and Family Issues)
 





 
  
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Free To Grow is a national program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with direction and technical assistance provided by the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University.