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January 24, 2017

When the Goal Is Success

Editor’s Note: In this series, Mind in the Making facilitators share their experiences guiding workshops for parents, educators, caregivers and healthcare professionals throughout the Suncoast. In May, The Patterson Foundation funded training for 31 people through the Mind in the Making Facilitator Institute, which breaks down executive functions into seven essential life skills that help children achieve their goals.

Alicia Long is a librarian at State College of Florida and a Mind in the Making Facilitator.

What motivates a group of busy, hardworking adults to attend weekly two-hour workshops after long days of work?  The desire to learn, to make better decisions for their families, and to help their children succeed!

Team Gold consisted of a group of parents and caregivers from Visible Men Academy, a charter school for boys in Manatee County. They committed to participate in Mind in the Making, a Patterson Foundation-sponsored program delivered as part of the school’s weekly offerings for the students’ families. In spite of challenges such as long work hours, unexpected storms, or sick children, these families persisted and interacted with each other and with co-facilitators Mary and Alicia, learning about learning.

Together, in a process called facilitated learning, they discovered ways to explore the executive functions of our brains. They discussed what the seven essential life skills mean, and how to boost their development for them as adults first, so they can apply them to help their children grow.

For about half of this group’s participants, English is their second language, so some sections of the modules were delivered in Spanish by one of the facilitators, who is bilingual. Not having the added language-challenge allowed the women to focus on the content and also to feel comfortable sharing experiences with their peers.

During the final session, while evaluating the program, Patricia, one of the participants said that she enjoyed being able to share experiences about her children with other parents and learn new things while speaking Spanish; her friend Yeny manifested how she was able to learn to set goals and think about how to deal with obstacles.

Team Gold shared laughs, concerns, and deep reflections while exploring our creative sides and practicing critical thinking… These parents are an example for all of us!

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