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PARENTS FOR STUDENT SUCCESS
May 27, 2010

PFSS is one of the most innovative approaches to helping parents of struggling students. This is not a PTA and works with parents one on one or in small workshops. The workshops are by parents for students, so the information is not top down. Parents learn ways to better manage the education of their children. The workshops are lively and enjoyable and full of all kinds of information, that many parents do not know.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Ways that they have been a small but impactful organization in SE Seattle and how they support other organizations and work collaboratively to maximize their impact.

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The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Very knowledgeable about how public schools work.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Have a Parent University for parents who really do not know how to raise and educate a child to be a great adult

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

MY ROLE:
Board Member & Helped to guide into a sustainability.

First Place
December 11, 2009

It was 12 years ago, I was a Washington State Representative and received a visit during legislative session from about 7 first place 5th graders. By the time they left I was convinced that yes poor children can learn, they can behave and their teachers can love them as if they were their own. I went on to be on their Advisory Board, then on the Board of Directors and eventually Board President. First Place has grown and evolved to include not only homeless children but those of incarcerated woman and those at risk of homelessness applying preventives. The Director Dr. Doreen Cato has grown along with First Place and elevated her learning and knowledge along with the kids by securing her terminal degree. Working with her as a board President was an incredible experience, as she is a consummate team player. I am now retired from both the Legislature and First Place Board. But I am still thankful for that day I was introduced to First Place. One of the little girls is now herself a mom all grown up. She stood before a full audience and told them that without First Place there was no hope for her and her mom, now they are fine. In fact they are contributors to their community and for that we say thank you First Place for what you do to break generational cycles of poverty and failed lives.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

First Place always comes up with strategies for funding that keeps them afloat even during the worst economic times. Since they work with the poorest families (homeless or close)this makes them wonderful examples for their clients.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Expand advocacy for the children who leave First Place and return to public school. This occurs after the family is stabilized in housing (three years max)

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The relationships between the Director and Administration, Board President and Directors, Staff and clients is interactive and mutually respectful. There were events when you could not tell who was who.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Committed to the excellence for the families and students. Those were not self selected out of the organization. It is not the culture of America to seek and find excellence in the poorest of families. This organization does; succeeds in elevating lives.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Expand its transitional housing stabilization program, create year round education and enrichment for homeless children and expand their best practices for poor children living with trauma to others.

Ways to make it better...

My experiences with First Place has been a life evolving one and it is hard for me to find what would be better.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

A sustained funding source The children have to return to public school and most often to cultures of failure.

One thing I'd also say is that...

If First Place can teach the children, reverse feelings and realities of hopelessness for families, so can other agencies and schools. Ask a FP client how is your life better in a sustained way because of FP and they will tell you of the positive outcomes

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

MY ROLE:
Volunteer & I am now retired as board member and am and will always be a volunteer helping parents be involved.