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West Hartford PLTI Class of 2023 Has Officially Launched

Speakers (from left): Interim Superintendent Andrew Morrow, state Sen. Derek Slap, state Reps. Kate Farrar and Jillian Gilchrest, Mayor Shari Cantor, and West Hartford PLTI Coordinator Kathryn Deane. Photo credit: Julia Deane

The newest cohort in West Hartford’s Parent Leadership Training Institute was welcomed Saturday morning.

West Hartford PLTI class of 2023 (three members are missing from photo). Photo credit: Julia Deane

Submitted by Kathryn Deane

On Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, the West Hartford Parent Leadership Training Academy (PLTI) held their kickoff retreat event at Charter Oak International Academy.

The retreat began with a welcome breakfast and words of encouragement from many local and state leaders. Mayor Shari Cantor, state Sen. Derek Slap, state Reps. Kate Farrar and Jillian Gilchrest, and Interim Superintendent of Schools Andrew Morrow addressed the incoming class of 2023, offering their support as they progress through the program and beyond, in their work as community leaders.

PLTI is a free training initiative that combines advocacy, leadership and citizenship skills into a curriculum that helps foster the best interests of children. This is the 11th year that West Hartford is hosting a PLTI class, thanks to the generous support of the Bridge Family Center. Many people hear about PLTI and think that is a parenting skills class, but really it is much more than that. PLTI is designed to train and empower parents and caregivers to take action in our community to better the lives of children and families. The class spends 20 consecutive Wednesday evenings together learning leadership skills that will ultimately be used to inspire each participant to develop a community project that will have a meaningful impact in West Hartford.

From left: PLTI Facilitator Carmen Chaparro, state Rep. Tammy Exum, and PLTI Facilitators Doug Edwards and Val Payne. Photo credit: Julia Deane

Once breakfast wrapped up, participants began getting to know one another and discovering how their personal stories have shaped each of them as parents and champions of children. The class was fortunate to have two PLTI alumni stop by to talk about how the program has played an important role in their personal paths to leadership. WHPS Board of Education Chair Lorna Thomas-Farquharson, and state Rep. Tammy Exum welcomed the participants to the PLTI family and encouraged them to “trust the process” and enjoy the journey that they are about to embark upon.

Lorna Thomas-Farquharson, chair of the WHPS Board Of Education (left) and Doug Edwards, PLTI facilitator. Photo credit: Julia Deane

For the past three years, PLTI was forced to take place exclusively via Zoom, due to COVID. However, this year the class is back in person at Charter Oak International Academy, where participants are also offered free dinner and childcare for school age children at the Family Resource Center while they are in class. This benefit allows the class to be accessible to all parents and caregivers, without having to worry about the pressure of feeding and caring for their children during their class time.

If anyone would like to follow along on the PLTI journey throughout this 2023 season, you can follow on Facebook or Instagram @westhartfordplti for photos and other updates.

To apply for the waiting list for the class of 2024, please visit the Bridge Family Center website and fill out an application online. You can also contact Kathryn Deane, PLTI Coordinator, at [email protected] for additional information.

PLTI Leaders encouraging one another in a leadership training kickoff activity. Photo credit: Julia Deane

PLTI Facilitators (from left): Val Payne, Doug Edwards, and Carmen Chaparro. Photo credit: Julia Deane

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