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Parent leadership: A unified voice for Pagosa

An 8-year-old boy sat quietly in the front yard holding his head in his hands, trying not to cry.

He had tried for the fifth time to stand up to a group of kids who had been calling him names and chasing him away from the bus stop. Anger seeped up from his broken heart as he pulled grass out of the front yard trying to calm himself before going inside to his mother.

Surprised, he looked up to see his dad home early parking in the driveway. He quickly wiped his tear stained face. Too late, dad knew something was wrong. They sat on the grass together as the boy sobbed and told his dad about the bullying that had been going on since school started. Dad hugged his son for being so brave.

“This is too big for you to handle alone. Let’s get some help.” Have you been here with your child?

The See It! Stop It! Pagosa Springs Parent Leadership Project (SISI) is the place to find strategies for using parent leadership to end violence in our town. What is parent leadership? Parent leadership is knowing what is best for our children and doing it. However, sometimes we don’t know the immediate answer. A parent leader is not about being an expert in every area; rather, it is about having the willingness to discover new resources and the readiness to provide known resources through shared efforts amongst parents and professionals.

Who is a parent leader? A parent leader is a parent, grandparent, kinship care provider, foster parent or anyone in a parenting role. Parent leaders are contagious agents of change, working to spread resources, increase community connectedness, while advocating for themselves, their own and other families and their communities. Do you have a vision? Do you have the resolve to stand for your vision even when questioned? If you are impassioned about something, then chances are that is your calling. If you are impassioned about a better Pagosa for your children and your family, chances are you are a Pagosa parent leader.

Parent leaders make naturally strong advocates, supporting people and ideas they believe in, or by seeking clarification on an issue. As change impacts our country, parent leaders can participate jointly with local, regional and national planning processes, collaborating as grant reviewers and program evaluators and serving on advisory boards and coalitions.

As a strong advocate against violence, SISI’s first collaborative effort is to launch the “I’m Here for You” community campaign. This campaign seeks to initiate violence-free zones, a kind of “liberated ground” throughout Archuleta County where parents are mobilized to provide leadership for developing strong, safe relationships and communities and where community members take action to stop violence when and where we see it.

SISI’s contest for a powerful symbol that represents our vision “to end violence in our lives and our communities” will continue through the month of October. Visit our website for contest details and entry forms at www.seeitstopit.pagosaview.com. You can sit at our table and share ideas every first and third Wednesday from noon–2 p.m. at 473 Lewis St.

See It. Stop It. Pagosa Springs Parent Leadership Project is co-sponsored by the Violence Prevention Coalition of Southwest Colorado (VPC) and the Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program (ACVAP). We are parent leaders working to end violence in our lives and our community.