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HERO CENTRAL: Turning the Page

11:33 AM, May 14, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) --- Turning the Page believes parents are a key ingredient in a child's academic success.

Since 1998, the non-profit has educated and encouraged parents to become parent leaders within DC Public Schools. 

On a Friday afternoon, Keena Bass pots plants with her daughters inside the auditorium of Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary in Ward 8.  The plants will be donated to a local senior center.

Bass volunteers as a parent leader.  The after-school activity will be the first service project for some of the children in the Anacostia community.

"It's real important in this neighborhood, because if they're not into an after-school activity, they will be getting into the wrong things," she says.

Bass says she attended a parent workshop one night at her daughter's school, and came out "impressed." She has volutunteered with Turning the Page ever since.

"It makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I'm doing something for my kids and with them," Bass explains. Her daughter Kalia is a first grader at Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School.

Turning the Page launched 14 years ago to support reading time between parents and their children. Today the organization runs workshops and after-school activities in the District's public schools and works with over 500 families.

"[W]hat we're trying to do is help the parents really add that value, which we know they can add, and they really are critical parts of school improvements and we're just helping them to find that voice," says Jason King, Executive Director of Turning the Page.

Donna Stewart is a strong voice within the parent leaders. She just won a parent-of-the-year award. 

Turning the Page has taught her how to help with homework for her seven children including one with special needs.

"We go back to Turning The Page, they have workshops on math and science and reading...[the workshops] will help me to understand when they bring me those homework packages or those problems that I've never seen or know, I want to know, how to help them," says Stewart.

Stewart has volunteered for over six years. Now she says her adult daughter is a parent leader.

"She always talk about how much she's learned. How much she's read with her daughter in her belly...how we build our library. And her daughter is very, very smart."

*The Gannett Foundation has made a donation to Turning the Page.

Written by: Elizabeth Jia
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