Editor’s Note: Marnie Howell leads the life-skills English classes for UnidosNow.
The Parent Leadership Program of UnidosNow is supported by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. Our participants meet at Gocio and Tuttle Elementary schools on certain weekdays for a two-hour class. This class strives to empower parents with life skills and English lessons. Parents understand that they are teachers to their children and as such, develop skills to help them academically and socially. In the Parent Leadership Program, many connections are made with the community at large.
Recently, our participants expressed an interest in visiting a public library. They wanted to explore enrichment opportunities for themselves and their children. Since both Gocio and Tuttle Schools are near the North Sarasota Public Library, it made sense to make this our first visit. We asked for a tour and downloaded the applications for library membership both in English and Spanish. We arrived at the library a little before it opened on Thursday, February 7. Our families were both excited and nervous. For some, it was their first visit to a public library. Our group of parents, young children, and mentors were given a wonderful presentation and tour of the youth section. The variety of classes offered is staggering. Our families were particularly interested in the Read with the Dogs Program, the Mango Languages Program, the availability of computers, and the summer offerings. One of our participants was thrilled that the local bus system has a stop in front of the library building as it means easy access from their home.
Immediately after the tour, five of the participants of the Parent Leadership Program signed up for a library card. Some of the mothers also signed up for both the “Born to Read” and “The Imagination Library” programs. Our parents loved the experience and plan to avail themselves of the many services offered. During the follow-up class to our library visit, we looked at the monthly schedules from other Sarasota libraries. Many of our mothers love to sew, knit, and crochet. They quickly found classes offered at the Fruitville Library. We’re hoping to be able to participate in those classes as a small group. One thing that we discovered was parents and families love field trips!