The statewide Parent Mentor Program graduated 622 parents on Friday. The parents tutored children daily this academic year in 70 Illinois schools.
As part of the program, which the Logan Square Neighborhood Association originally started back in 1995, parents are recruited and trained to tutor students who need extra help.
Parent Mentor Program participants celebrated their graduation, but also expressed concerns about the prospect of future funding for the program if the state budget impasse continues.
Funding for the program was included in a K-12 education spending measure for the current fiscal year. As a result, the Parent Mentor Program was able to operate over the past 11 months of the budget impasse.
With the state budget stalemate now nearing the one-year mark, Illinois lawmakers and the governor have yet to enact a budget or a K-12 education funding bill for the new fiscal year, which starts July 1.
"The uncertainty surrounding the funding of programs in schools in Illinois make the parents more determined to keep fighting not only to preserve, but also to strengthen schools in their communities," reads a news release from the Logan Square Neighborhood Association. "Through this nationally recognized program, parent mentors received trainings and supports that help them grow into leaders in their communities and learn how to support their own children and families."
Friday's graduation event to honor the hard work of the parent mentors was held at Gage Park High School in Chicago.
Read more about the Parent Mentor Program here and here.