Schutzman’s generosity came in the form of two $500 scholarships awarded to student members of Parents Connected. Schutzman outlined the criteria: each applicant wrote an essay on “Why I Want to Go to College.” He read each application and made the selection. The two deserving recipients, Mercedes Shade Cooper and Garrieth Nelson, are both seniors at Deer Valley High School. Garrieth hopes to attend Langston University and Mercedes has her sights set on Stanford, when she plans a career in medicine.
Parents Connected is a grassroots organization founded in November of 2009 by Antioch parents Synitha Walker, Tina Price and Darice Ingram. As concerned parents seeking to provide support for their college-bound children, they discovered many obstacles, including lack of specific preparation for the CAHSEE (California’s high school exit exam) and lack of preparatory courses for college entrance exams in the Antioch area.
As Synitha, Tina and Darice worked to obtain information to ensure their own children were on the college track, they discovered that many other parents lacked this vital information – and Parents Connected was founded.
The organization’s goal is to equip parents with knowledge to help their children get to college. Formally organizing as a nonprofit, two other parents who shared the same passion for students’ success – Maria Healy and Velma Waddell – were added to the board of directors.
As the board was completed, the mission was clarified: The goal of Parents Connected is to engage the student’s entire family, schools and community leaders in creating a college-going culture in which high expectation for success is standard.
Underlying Parents Connected’s work is the belief that all parents, no matter their socio-economic, racial or cultural background, dream of success for their children. Parents Connected strongly believes that in order to bring that dream to life, parents must take an active role in their children’s education.
Parents Connected’s past endeavors include CAHSEE preparation workshops for English and math; ACT/SAT Prep Courses (offered at a significant discount); college entrance and financial aid workshops; a college tour; a college fair in conjunction with the Antioch Unified School District; middle school Parents’ Night (educating parents on college requirements and high school courses students must take to meet requirements); and the Martin Luther King Day Celebration (with the City of Antioch and AUSD).
Although Parents Connected was founded by Antioch parents, the organization hopes to establish a presence in all of East Contra Costa County, working with all the school districts in order to increase the college-going rates in the community.
For more information, call 925-238-8053, visit http://parents-connected.org, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Parents Connected, P.O. Box 4662, Antioch, CA 94531.
– Contributed by Velma Waddell