Events allow parents, students to get informed

Published: Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 5:17 p.m.

Parents who want to learn how to effectively be involved in the education of their children and about scholarships offered specifically to black students will have a chance to hear from experts on those matters.



What: King Commission and 4As Educational Summit and King Commission High School Scholarship Fair.

When: Saturday; summit, 9 a.m.-noon; fair, 1-4 p.m.

Where: King Center, 1028 NE 14th St.

Cost: Free.

Information: Call 352-335-0572.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Florida Inc. and the African American Accountability Alliance of Alachua County, or 4As, will be sponsoring an educational summit from 9 a.m.-noon, and the King Commission will be sponsoring a scholarship fair from 1-4 p.m. Saturday at the King Center, located at 1028 NE 14th St.

Dr. Karen Cole-Smith, assistant chair of the 4As education committee, said Wanda DeLaRosa, a family engagement and multicultural outreach educator at the University of South Florida, will make a presentation at the educational summit focusing on getting parents involved in their children's academic success. Cole-Smith said the summit is free and open to the public, and will focus on parents of students in grades K-12.

"The parent is the child's first and most influential teacher," Cole-Smith wrote in an email. "Any educational resources and support we can provide to assist parents in carrying out their roles and responsibilities related to academic success is critical, and a necessary component of educational programs."

She said parents will leave with specific strategies and techniques they can use to increase their involvement in their child's academic success. She said individual plans will reflect the needs of the child, and parents will be given "parental pledge cards" that they will be asked to commit to at the end of the summit.

Cole-Smith, executive director of Community Outreach and East Gainesville Instruction at Santa Fe College, also said there will be several workshop facilitators from the local community, including representatives from the Alachua County School Board, Santa Fe College, the University of Florida, the UF chapter of the NAACP and the King Commission, and retired educators. She also said small group discussion sessions with parents will immediately follow the main presentation.

Louis Kalivoda, a King Commission board member, said the scholarship fair is designed for high school juniors and seniors, and is going to feature representatives from various schools and organizations with scholarship information for black students who want to attend college or vocational school.

Some of the colleges and organizations with booths at the fair last year were Florida A&M University, Santa Fe College Office of Development, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., the Southern Scholarship Foundation, the Alachua County Schools Foundation and many more.

Kalivoda said this will be the third time the commission has sponsored the fair, and he said it is an important event to have because students in the community can learn about scholarship opportunities they might not otherwise learn about.

"There are probably a lot of smart, really deserving students out there who need money to go to college," Kalivoda said. "If an African American has aspirations of going to college, and has questions about where the money is going to come from, hopefully this scholarship fair will be able to help them."

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