Parent Leadership Initiative Graduates

Heather Borriello with Allison White and Dorothy Santana, PLI staff for North Nassau.

Port Washington residents Blanka Monasterio-Redelick and Heather Borriello recently graduated from the Child Care Council of Nassau (Council) Parent Leadership Initiative (PLI). The third annual commencement ceremony was held at BOCES Lupinskie Center, with the largest PLI group to date with a total of 29 graduates. PLI strives to create a caring community for children via a hands-on experience.

Blanka Monasterio-Redelick (center) with her two children

In PLI’s 15-week initiative, parents learn about the resources in their communities, acquire skills such as goal setting and public speaking, and become informed on how our schools and government work. The participants then prepare a strategy for a leadership initiative that they will carry out after they graduate. Parents also take on tough topics about diversity and the importance of inclusiveness for all our neighbors. The commitment to addressing inequity makes PLI unique to many leadership trainings offered on Long Island.

Danielle Asher, director of PLI, welcomed everyone and introduced the elected leaders that came to bid the graduates success on their leadership endeavors. Among the guests were Deputy Mayor of Freeport Jorge Martinez, Hempstead Town Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby and Summer Hill on behalf of Congresswoman Kathleen Rice. Child Care Council’s Executive Director Jan Barbieri spoke of the benefits that the Parent Leadership Initiative brings to the work of council.

Lisa Kaplan-Miller, senior program coordinator, introduced the class speakers representing Nassau South and Nassau North, Letitia Whitfield and Blanka Monasterio-Redelick, respectively. Monasterio stressed the importance of the experiences that participants had, such as joining council on their Albany advocacy trip.

“These opportunities fostered our skills and strategies to direct our passions,” said Monasterio.

The final portion of the ceremony concluded with the presentation of certificates by Dorothy Santana, Allison White, Nora Bassett and Kaplan-Miller. The graduates received certificates of recognition from Child Care Council, the Town of Hempstead, the Town of North Hempstead, Nassau County Legislature, New York State Senate and Assembly and the Congress of the United States.

The families of Nassau County face many challenges; in fact, one in four children are living in poverty with additional issues of literacy, domestic instability, language barriers and food insecurity. PLI’s success rate of parents becoming more involved in their schools and community after graduation is over 90 percent.