Parent Groups at the Heart of Virginia Avenue Park
March 13, 2018
by Tati Simonian
Virginia Avenue Park (VAP) is home to many things: a vibrant community center, a weekly farmers market, and the Pico Branch Library, which all offer a full schedule of free programs for community members of all ages. At the heart of its programs are the Parents of VAP participants. VAP parents have formed groups that meet weekly to discuss ways to support the educational success of their children and families, and to share their cultural heritage through public events and activities. The parent groups work alongside City staff in playing an active role in planning culturally relevant public events, as well as suggesting educational programs for their children.
“We host and listen to our parent groups, Familias Latinas Unidas, Parent Connection Group and Virginia Avenue Park Advisory Board. Their suggestions are key to ensuring that VAP programs meet the needs of the community,” says Carla Fantozzi, Principal Community Services Program Supervisor.
Programs that have come from these discussions include “Our Girls Rock” presented by Parent Connection Group. The workshop is designed to honor African-American women of the past and their contributions to the world, and strives to empower young women of today with skills necessary to build self-love, purpose and commitment to success. “Our Girls Rock” occurs this month as part of Women’s History Month.
Collectively, all three groups participate in the upcoming Arts & Literacy Festival in April, promoting Santa Monica’s Cradle to Career Kindergarten Readiness Campaign by bringing together more than 20 different Santa Monica agencies, and offering participatory games and activities to help preschoolers be ready for kindergarten.
For more information about Virginia Avenue Park programs and services, visit smgov.net/vap.