During August, the Summit Fellows group met every Saturday to develop skills that will support them in leading community outreach and advocacy work. The fellows included more than 30 students, staff and families across the STRIVE Prep network and were specifically selected for their passion for change and advocacy.
The Summit Fellowship started because families, staff, and students expressed their desire to get more involved in decisions made at the community and school board level. One of the main outcomes from the Fellows training will be an organized and grassroots “get out the vote” campaign for a usually low turnout midterm election, but with big implications as three new DPS school board members will be voted on. A powerful way to have a voice in the community is to vote during elections. Our families, students and staff want to be sure that decisions are being made with them, not for them.
Over the five sessions, participants learned about leadership development, governmental powers, and relationship building. On the final day, Luis Avila of Iconico, who is one of the nation’s leaders in community organizing and even worked on the 2008 Obama campaign, led the work on mobilizing. By the end of the training, participants walked away with real-life skills on how to organize their power to improve voting turnout.
STRIVE Prep’s STRIVE Together family engagement team took a lead role in organizing the Summit Fellows and will continue to be an advocacy resource for them.
“To have our students and families engaged and excited about having a voice and making an impact in the community is invaluable,” said Senior Director of External Affairs Dani Morello. “We’re fortunate to have such passionate people who care about the decisions which impact their neighborhoods and schools.”