February is for parent leaders

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Posted on Feb 03 2020
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Parent leaders pose with Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, front row center, and first lady Diann Torres at the Parent Leadership Month proclamation signing at the Kagman Community Center last Jan. 31. (JUSTINE NAUTA)

The whole month of February has been dedicated to recognizing the important role of parents in raising healthy families in their homes and communities. In addition, parents, community leaders, teachers, health care providers, and others can increase their knowledge of effective strategies to prevent childhood abuse and neglect.

This comes soon after Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios declared February as National Parent Leadership Month in a proclamation signing last Jan. 31 at the Kagman Community Center.

In his speech, Palacios encouraged the community to participate in the activities that the Division of Youth Services has lined up throughout the month to help celebrate and support all parents, teachers, health-care providers, community leaders, and others.

“I thank our parents in the Commonwealth for continuing to nurture very valuable members of our community, which are our children,” Palacios said.

He also recognized DYS of the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, all the schools on the islands, and other contributors who “play a critical role in raising our children and strengthening our community.”

Also present at the proclamation signing was first lady Diann Torres, who also thanked parents and all others who plays a strong role in a child’s life.

“You are powerful, you are powerful to your child, and you are powerful to their world and where they will be,” said Torres.

Torres mentioned that she read a sticker from the event that says, “You are the key to your child’s growth and development.” As a parent, this is 100% true, she said, and if you want your child to succeed in life, you have to be that key.

Lizette Pascua, a parent leader of Green Meadow Middle School, later led other parent leaders in reciting the Parents Pledge.

In an interview with parent nominee from Kagman High School, John Gonzales, he mentioned that this recognition is really for all the parents. “As parents, we struggle with competing priorities, and it’s really a mindset that ensures that we are successful and every parent is a winner. Every parent must receive this award and I dedicate this award for them,” he said.

When asked what parent leadership means to him, Gonzales replied, “It’s listening and loving our children unconditionally. You have to spend quality time with them and to also make time. God gives us 24 hours in a day, and it’s up to us to maximize and manage our time for those that matter, for things that matter, and that everyday we must invest time like it’s the very last day.”

Gonzales has been active in the Parent Leadership Month planning activities to recognize parent leaders in the community. He has been involved with numerous outreach activities with DYS and is an advocate for the wellbeing of children and their families.

Justine Nauta
Justine Nauta is Saipan Tribune's community and health reporter and has covered a wide range of news beats, including the Northern Marianas College and Commonwealth Health Care Corp. She's currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services at NMC.
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