The support and training of parents and guardians are central to the PRAISE approach to developing young men. As such, parental/guardian involvement is mandatory and has proven to be a key to our success. We recognize that young African American males are not inherently bad people. In addition to being stigmatized by negative images abound in the media and other forms of pop culture, our Black youth face multiple challenges when it comes to their health, safety, and well-being. While these threats are real, they often stem from family, community and, in fact, societal dynamics associated with racism, poverty, and violence that have a history predating the lives of our youth. In addition to the educational components discussed above, our approach to developing strong Black men is to help them and their families unpack their historical wounds and engage in relational healing that leads to empowerment and accountability to self, community, and society as a whole.
Therefore, PRAISE has created an environment where parents feel welcomed and they work in collaboration with our entire learning community to support the development of our scholars. We strongly believe that parents are our children's first and most important teachers. They have important information regarding their child's strengths, weaknesses, goals, and fears that the school may not be aware of. This information is extremely important as it relates to our scholars educational experience. It is our desire to personalize the educational experience for each scholar to the best of our ability. In order for PRAISE to effectively address this goal, a strong relationship between the school and home is necessary. Therefore, as a requirement for admission, it is mandatory for all parents/guardians to attend the Parent Academy. In addition, parents are responsible for completing 15 volunteer hours per academic year.
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PRAISE views all members of its constituency as full stakeholders in our mission and vision. Our program is geared toward the scholar and his family, and we seek to have parental/caregiver support in place to successfully cultivate this partnership. In PRAISE, parental/caregiver participation is not a request, but rather a requirement for any parent/caregiver seeking to enroll their child. As a result, we established the PRAISE Parent Academy, which provides psychosocial and educational advancement initiatives for parents and caregivers.
Support extends beyond the doors of PRAISE, creating a viable, sustainable network of individuals, and services to assist with successful college acceptance and degree completion.