Spring ’17 Community Partner Spotlight: Parent Services Project

Patricia Brawley is the Family Engagement Coordinator at Parent Services Project (PSP). She organizes weekly play groups, Aprendiendo Juntos (AJ), for pre-kindergarten children and their parents, and offers support and resources for Latino immigrant families with young children. Students from a variety of classes have benefited greatly from Patricia’s mentorship. She is a fountain of energy and warmth. We asked Patricia to speak to a few questions about our partnership:

Q: How does the partnership with Dominican benefit PSP and AJ?

  • Beyond the direct assistance DUC students provide, it is extremely important that the the children and their parents in our program see DUC students working with us who are young people in college, especially as many of the DUC students are first generation. The parents want the best for their children, and seeing DUC students helps them understand that going to college could be possible for their own children too.
  • Ideally, I’d like to work with the parents and children one-on-one, but we have too many. When DUC students come, they can help me do some of that one-on-one work.

Q: How do you see your role as a co-educator and what is it like to work with Dominican students?

  • I’m happy to support the SL program and Dominican students in any way that I can. The DUC students we had in the past few years have been exceptional. This semester we have Stephanie [Hernandez], and she’s been wonderful. Many of our parents speak limited English; having Stephanie, who is a fluent bilingual (in English and Spanish), has been very helpful. I only have to explain to her what needs to be done for the day, and she runs with it. The other day I asked her if she’d like to have a block of time to present to our group. She lit up and says, yes, that is exactly what she’d like to do! She told me that as a Public Health major, this is exactly the kind of work that she wants to do.

Q: What do you want people to know about PSP and the parents and children it serves?

  • We at PSP is currently trying to expand our programs from 2 days to 4 days. Our Raise a Reader program run at the same time as the Play Groups. We exchange books, and give a sticker to the children who share their favorite books. It’s a big deal for the kids to overcome their shyness and talk to a circle about their favorite books. A sticker is not much, but it motivates them! I’ve also added office hours outside of our play groups, so that parents can come in to talk, and I have the computer and phone right there to find and connect them to resources.
  • We are also working in Marin City. The situation at the Bayview/MLK school is terrible. The school district is not providing the children with adequate education, and we are trying to do what we can to help.
  • I want people to know that the parents we work with, they love their children. They want the best for their children, but a lot of times they don’t know how to deal — when a child throw a tantrum, or does something not expected, that does not make them bad or mischievous. We work with the parents to understand that, and also point them to appropriate materials for their kids; a two year-old would need books that are not too long, and for the 3–4 year olds they can read something more instructional.