The Canal Winchester Times

Power Parent

Free program offers extra information to families

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JOSHUA A. BICKEL/THISWEEKNEWS
Linda Knicely, a college and career readiness consultant at the Education Service Center of Central Ohio, speaks during a Power Parent session Nov. 11 at the Madison Township Community Center in Groveport. The sessions are recorded and made available on the Groveport Madison school district's YouTube channel.
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By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Groveport Madison schools are trying to empower parents and students with knowledge in this second year of the Power Parent program.

The Family and Civic Engagement committee hosts the free Power Parent programs the second Monday of each month during the school year at the Madison Township Community Center, 4575 Madison Lane. The sessions last from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and focus on topics suggested by parents and committee members.

Committee member Christine Boucher said the idea for the programs originally came from school board representative and committee member Nancy Gillespie after she'd attended similar programs run by schools in northeast Ohio. All the presenters volunteer their time, and the programs are filmed and posted to the Groveport Madison Schools' YouTube channel for those unable to attend in person.

"We've included such topics as social media, study tips, planning for life beyond high school, healthy eating, preparing your toddler for school, summer programming and transitioning from middle school to high school," Boucher said. "School administrators are available after each session to answer questions, concerns or rumors."

At the Nov. 11 program, Linda Knicely from the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio gave a presentation about college and career readiness.

Knicely focused on the importance of post-high school education, whether that is community college, a traditional four-year college or university, or technical training.

"It's a challenge when you think of the high debt load and the reality of what you're paying for school when you're out of high school," Knicely said.

She provided statistics from the College Board, the organization that oversees college entrance examinations, showing how education costs are rising faster than many traditional grant and scholarship programs can cover; however, according to the statistics, adults with post-secondary education are more likely to earn a higher income, have greater job and family stability, and to contribute to their communities.

"This is not just a benefit for the individual or for the schools, but for the whole community," Knicely said.

Athena Walton, who attended the program with her daughter, Jordan, a sophomore at Groveport Madison High School, said she really appreciates having access to programs such as Power Parent.

"I've been to some of these in the past and I think it's so great we have a committee that's willing to host this and provide a different, interesting topic each month," Walton said. "A lot of times, people don't know about the resources out there and this is one way to connect with and find out about those."

Jordan agreed, saying she appreciated hearing more about what she will face as she plans for her post-secondary education.

Power Parent will not be held in December due to the holiday season, but will pick back up Jan. 13 with a program titled "Fit Families: Exercise & Healthy Cooking."

"Our next Power Parent in January is about family fitness, so come ready to move around," Boucher said. "We'll have presenters here teaching us about Zumba and yoga and talking about healthy eating."

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