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Parents Education Network

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Developmentally Disabled Centers, Disabilities, Human Services

Mission: Parents Education Network (PEN) is a coalition of parents collaborating with educators, students and the community to empower and bring academic and life success to students with learning and attention differences.

Geographic areas served: San Francisco Bay Area

Programs: Pen brings nationally and locally known speakers to our speaker series lectures, workshops, support groups and national conference (edrevsf) to educate parents, educators and students about the strengths and challenges of students with learning and attention differences. We provide opportunities for our members to connect with each other to share resources and work together for student success.

student advisors for education (safe) is a student community that strives to educate, mentor and support students, parents and teachers regarding the strengths and challenges of students with learning and attention differences(ld). They meet monthly, speak on panels, have written a book and created videos about their experiences as students with ld. They gather annually as a national community at edrev-up to support other students in finding their unique voice in their own educational journeys.

pen is launching a national affiliate program to connect more families, educators and students dealing with learning and attention differences. This community will provide education about the strengths and challenges that accompany these differences, provide models on how to collaborate and include the student voice in conversations around learning differently and support and empower students to find their unique voice to transform their educational journeys.

other program accomplishments include participation in events such as learning & the brain and celebrate dyslexia.

Community Stories

31 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

PEN was lifesaving for both our son and our family. After our son received his diagnosis of dyslexia, I did not know how to begin navigating the countless issues involved. These included understanding the diagnosis and its ramifications, working with teachers and schools, homework, the psychological effects for our son and our family, tutors, accommodations (how to request and receive them), the law, testing, teaching advocacy to our son and advocating to the larger community, future potential good school matches and so many more. PEN offered a support system of dedicated, kind and thoughtful women who in the process of learning about learning disabilities and advocating for their children decided to form a nonprofit dedicated to sharing their experience and expertise. I found PEN when our son was 6. He is now 20. He is currently attending and thriving at a university he never would have been accepted or gone to without all we learned from PEN. I cannot say enough good things about this organization to adequately express my thanks. PEN allowed our son and countless others to feel good about themselves, to celebrate their learning issues and to be able to achieve what they are capable of. These are not small or temporary skills and lessons. They sre truly life changing.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've attended several presentations over the last year. Every one of the speakers has been of the highest quality, dispensing valuable advice. This advice has be extremely helpful to me as I deal with 2 children and a spouse with brain/learning differences. I highly recommend PEN!

1

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have worked with the Board and staff of PEN for the last several years. What stands out to me is the clarity and purity of their dedication. I seldom see a not-for-profit so focused to simply helping their client population. I have worked with the Board in strategic planning, board governance, and project management. I have volunteered in the SAFE program. Everywhere in the organization I find people of heart and intelligence. PEN grew up attending to the needs of LD kids in San Francisco, but it's clear to me that they will eventually shape the national conversation around learning differences. They have the secret sauce for connecting parents, kids, teachers, and professionals; the momentum of their work will be unstoppable.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have just finished a probono project with PEN and my team (that have all worked with other non profits organizations too) have all been very impressed with PEN's value to the community, and PEN's ability to deliver such impact. I have heard from so many stakeholders that PEN is a critical contributor to society. I have heard numerous real life examples from teachers, principles of schools, parents and most importantly the children that they value PENs work so much, they want PEN to be able to spread the PEN reach throughout the USA. Communities beyond the Bay Area need the PEN service in their community too!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I went to my first PEN meeting on behalf of my professional affiliation with the organization, at least that is why I thought I went. I sat in the room amongst other parents who described how a child with a learning difference affected their family. I felt so much comfort when I realized they were describing my child and my situation. The only difference was that they possessed hope and strength, qualities I did not have yet. Knowing there is an organization committed to children who learn differently, and the parents of these children, makes me realize I can have hope! I know the road I will travel with my ADD son may not be easy, but I will be supported! Thanks to the wonderful staff at PEN who have chosen to walk this road with me! Taylor stilwell

Eve H.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Fantastic information, targeted and immediately useful for me as a wife of a dylexic and mother of another dyslexic. Totally surpassed my expectations. Thank you!

Client Served

Rating: 5

PEN is more than a significant entity in our lives. They offer useful classes on a regular basis on a variety of relevant educational topics. Each year PEN hosts something calles EdRev at Pac Bell Park in San Francisco. We go hear inspirational speakers, many of whom have significant learning differences as well. Parents, kids and people in the profession of learning all come to hear talks, attend smaller seminars and learn about available resources. We are always excited and encouraged after leaving the Ed Rev anual learning event. Pen additionally provides educational talks throughout the year at a nominal fee. The talks are usually given by renoun people in the educational field. PEN always strives to provide the services to the most people at a reasonable price. There is always a way to attend even if you are on a very low budget. I don't know of a group of more caring people who serve a very important segment of our community. I don't know how they do it!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

As a speech/language pathologist who supports many students with language-based learning disabilities every day, I appreciate & use PEN resources, & have shared contacts & information with my students, teachers, parents & colleagues. And - as a parent of a student with LD, I've found the support & collaboration invaluable.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have been a volunterr with PEN for the last three years, primarily assisting with the Lecture Series and writing a blog on each of the lectures for the PEN website and mine: dyslexiadiscovery.com.

The care given to the selection of speakers results in a broad specturm of topics that are germane to dyslexia, ADHD and other learning challenges. Parents, teachers and others have a unique opportunity to listen and learn from specialists. I have found it fascinating how lecturers on the topic most often have a unique approach to the topic. Parents who commit to attend many of lectures have an opportunity to asses what might work for their child.

I am dyslexic and hyperlexic and learn each time so much more about my challenges. This is a unique group of serious minded leaders providing excellent resources to a very challenging field.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am the mother of a dyslexic boy. I had never heard of dyslexia until I experienced my son's struggles in reading and word retrieval. I feel incredibly blessed that Parents Education Network had a presence in my son's school as they have provided my family with "one stop shopping" for all the challenges that we continue to face as we navigate my son's education.
I have attended many lectures and events sponsored by PEN and have met other parents at these events with whom I can swap information, advice and support. PEN also provides resource referrals so that I do not have to re-invent the wheel in isolation while trying to support my son.
As much as I value and appreciate all of the above , by far the most outstanding service provided by PEN is the activities geared to empower the children themselves and teach them to understand their unique ways of learning and advocate for themselves. My son understands that he learns DIFFERENTLY, not poorly, and is pro-active in learning how to attain his goals with his unique strengths and weaknesses. SAFE voices, EdRev and the community that PEN creates have been invaluable in fostering self sufficiency, self-esteem and hope for the future in my son....something we would not have known how to attain without the community and resources that PEN has created. We are so grateful for their good works!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a founding member of PEN. Before PEN, there was little information and little support to parents and students of the bay area trying to navigate an unfriendly educational environment. Students with learning disabilities, before PEN, were marginalized and certainly they had little voice of their own and no organized voice. PEN has created a strong collaborative network including parents, educators and students. PEN has changed the landscape in a very short period of time. Students through PEN's student branch SAFE speak publicly throughout the bar area encouraging students to empower themselves and engage in their own education. Parents are armed with information about how to best support their children. Educators are provided with professional development opportunities that are extremely affordable. Some of the brightest minds in the classroom are the students identified with learning disabilities.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SAFE has taught me to became an advocate. Both for the LA/ADHAD community and for myself. I have learned to propperly voice my needs and wants for my education making my education a better expierence which without SAFE would have been less enjoiable.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been part of an organization called SAFE Voices for about three years. I'm looking forward to being part of Project Eye to Eye this year and helping younger kids through some difficult stages of the LD.

1 Kathryn Ann D.

Client Served

Rating: 5

PEN is a tremendous resource of informaiton for parents. My child was diagnoses a year and a half ago with Learning Differences and then more recently with ADD. The speaker series of PEN has provided me with much needed information and access to resources, which have really helped our family adapt and find the assistance and support that our child needs. In addition, the other parents involved with PEN have been a great help as well. PEN has made a big impact on how I have been able to help our child!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

When thrown into the world of LD, I felt scared, alone, and somehow a failure. PEN gave me access to knowledge, events, professionals, and most importantly, connections with other parents/children with similar stories. The event most influential for me has been ED Rev which is produced by PEN. In one day, at one place-I listened to inspirational stories, went to workshops, heard professional speakers, saw software demos, and had instant access to professionals, schools etc... At this event my son and I heard Jonathon Mooney and my son was introduced to other kids involved in SAFE. Today my son loves SAFE and speaks on panels, advocting for himself and others who are not ready to speak out and share their experiences. Both my son and I have have become educated, empowered and filled with passion in the belief that this path is a gift. Through PEN and SAFE, we have the power to help ourselves and others. With a base of pride and knowledge we embrace our experiences and begin to challenge and change perceptions of world around us.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

This is the 3rd year my daughter has been involved in SAFE Voices.SAFE, as she describes it, is not a support group; it is an advocacy organization for middle school and high school students who have LD issues. Through their work, the organization and its members do provide support for these students in ways that we, as parents, cannot do. It has been an invaluable experience for her and has helped her gain confidence by being on speaking panel, and organizational skills as she becomes increasingly involved in SAFE's activities. While she never felt that she had any problems with acknowledging her LD issues, it is only since she has been at SAFE that she has grown truly comfortable with her LD. Though initially I had to fight to get her to go, she now says that she wishes she had started earlier. I am so pleased to see her take on the responsibilities she gets from SAFE. I highly recommend this organization for any middle or high school student with LD issues.

Susan23456789

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I credit PEN with providing the most effective professional resources for me during critical times in my teaching career. PEN's Teacher's Education Network has provided phenomenal support regarding improving my teaching and assessment methods, as well as invaluable guidance in creating optimal learning environments for my students, particularly those with learning differences. PEN's ability to partner with parents, students, teachers, and schools in the hopes of improving education for everyone is truly remarkable.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I am a mother 2year old baby boy I can not speak English help me.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My 12 year old son has ADHD and learning disabilities. We live in Sacramento - 2 hours away from San Francisco. We went last year to the PEN SF EdRev and it changed our lives! I feel so hopeful now. I watch everything they do and it is revolutionary. My son's art is in their new calendar and he is so proud! I'm absolutely dying to have this spread to Sacramento. The teen group they have and the strength in leadership coming through is amazing. The collaborative spirit with educators, professionals, families, and children is a model. What I really like is the kids are involved - not separate. I only wish I lived closer!

Laura23456

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My son was diagnosed with speech and language processing challenges in pre-school, and later with language-based learning disabilities. When he was young, I took advantage of PEN's wonderful speaker series' to broaden my knowledge and understanding of my son's needs and how I could support him both academically and emotionally. Now, at 16, my son is an active member in SAFE Voices and is learning how to advocate for himself. The knowledge I gained from PEN's activities, and more importantly, his involvement in SAFE Voices and the annual EdRev conference, have been instrumental in helping him learn how to be successful in school and beyond.