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  Free To Grow
  Mailman School
  of Public Health
  Columbia University
  722 West 168th Street,
  8th Floor
  New York, NY 10032

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NOTE: as of April 17, 2007, the Free to Grow program has closed.
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Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI)

COFI -More Information

COFI believes in the principle that building strong families is an important aspect of building strong communities.  Therefore, COFI partners with local community groups to provide leadership training that links personal, family and community development.

Parent Action teams work together for three-to-six months to achieve goals derived from their vision of a family-friendly community.  Members of parent action teams have participated in classrooms as teacher aides; organized family festivals and helped create programs that provided English as Second Language instruction, GED Preparation and computer skills training.  Parents move on to conduct door-to-door outreach to build relationships within the community and involve other parents and stakeholders in making the community more supportive of families. With this expanded constituency, parents work together to achieve three to five longer-term goals.  Parent Action teams have successfully advocated to have schools opened after hours as community centers, and have developed and generated resources for new programs for children and families. Some parents involved in COFI move on to take significant community leadership roles, such as sitting on community planning committees.  These leaders receive support in planning programs, developing operating policies and securing resources. 

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


copyright 2008 Free To Grow
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.