Violeta Prieto, mother of two STRIVE Prep students, knows the power of advocacy and how her voice can positively impact a community. Last year, Violeta worked with STRIVE Prep staff and families, and city Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore, to have a HAWK signal crosswalk installed on Green Valley Ranch Boulevard. The HAWK, high-intensity activated crosswalk, signal allows pedestrians to activate flashing lights to cross the street at a non-intersection location and significantly reduce pedestrian crashes.
“Before the crosswalk, kids would just walk out in front of traffic and it was dangerous,” she said. “Now there are flashing lights and the kids use the crosswalk.”
Violeta said the group met periodically last year to discuss issues impacting their communities and then brainstormed ways to address them. With the continued growth in far northeast Denver, traffic is a priority. This year, family advocates are working to address other issues such as lack of sidewalks and traffic congestion.
“The biggest benefit is everyone is on the same page and as parents you get your opinion heard,” Violeta said. “It’s a way for staff and council to know about the ideas you have.”
Through the STRIVE Together program, families are encouraged to participate in community decisions and are given the skills and tools to advocate for their children. Whether it’s their participation in the recent Denver Public Schools superintendent search or them addressing student lunches, STRIVE Prep families use their voices and take action for positive change. STRIVE Together also works directly with families to improve student performance and open lines of communication.
“STRIVE Together helps us be on top of our own kids,” said Violeta.“I’m engaged, it’s not just the teachers and staff jobs, it’s our jobs as parents to be involved in our kids education. They are there to support us and then we support them. Everyone is working together.”
One of STRIVE Together’s goals is to create authentic advocacy through trainings and personal storytelling. “Instead of us telling parents what to say, we want to know what the real concerns are and then provide the training and resources to speak up for themselves and their community,” said Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships Dani Morello.
STRIVE Together and our advocacy work is possible because of charitable donations and grant funding. Consider giving to STRIVE Prep on Colorado Gives Day, December, 2018 4, so you too can advocate for the communities we serve. Begin scheduling gifts Thursday, November 1, 2018.