Parents Advocacy Sessions Icon

Our goal is to provide advocacy sessions that will empower parents to help their children be successful throughout the school year and beyond. These sessions are also designed to support family growth and sustainability. These sessions were suggested and developed with Parents Challenge parents.


These sessions are not geared to tell parents what to do, they will be geared to provide parents with tools and resources to make informed decisions regarding their child’s education that can be applied at school or at home. Ideally, these sessions help parents to ask questions, seek additional support, develop goals with their children, learn to assess performance data and develop skills to monitor their students’ overall progress. These sessions also support low-income families with financial and community resources.

2021-2022 Parent Schedule
Fall Semester

Session Color Coding
Red – Mandatory Sessions

Blue – Regular Advocacy Sessions

Orange – Tracks (must commit to the entire track to receive credit)





August 12, 2021

Session #1: Community Project

Mandatory: 4+ Year Families (In-Person)

This session is for families that have been enrolled with Parents Challenge since 2017-2018 or earlier (no breaks in involvement).

Participation is by invitation ONLY

Location:  Antlers Hotel

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Dr. Regina Lewis,
Professor, Pikes Peak Community College,
Founder –

August 16, 2021

Session #2: How to Prepare for Parent Teacher Conferences

Mandatory: NEW (Virtual)

(No Home School Families)

You are your child’s 1st teacher and research say that children who have involved parents are more likely to enjoy school, graduate, have better social skills and many more opportunities in life. This session is designed to assist parents in equipping themselves with all the tools to support their child’s education – Day One and forward

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Wendy Birhanzel,
Superintendent, HSD2

August 19, 2021

Session #3: Understanding Dyslexia and Reading Challenges


This session will focus on helping parents understand the challenges associated with dyslexia.  Providing support to children that have difficulty reading or interpreting words or letters and other symbols can be frustrating if you are not equipped with the tools to support your child.  Join this session to discover a new way to help your child enjoy reading.

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Lynne Fitzhugh,
Colorado Literacy and Learning Center,
Orton Academy

August 24, 2021

Session #4: Systems Think – Real Skills for Real Life

Returning Families – All Home School Families

What if you could develop and master leadership skills (most of your peers will never get) and build the right system to get better results much faster in life? Wouldn’t that be an awesome way to use your gifts and talents?

All around me, I see so many young people with ideas. And maybe it’s because they think they don’t have options. Or maybe they’re overwhelmed by so many options. Whatever the reason, too many times they end up doing nothing with their ideas. And I’ve seen older adults who went through most of their life with unfulfilled dreams. Because they didn’t invest in Real Skills. And they didn’t build the System to give themselves the best path to success. Instead, they chose the so-called “safe” answer. A heart and soul wrecking job that didn’t line up with their gifts and talents.

That’s a couple of recipes for a life of tension and stress and frustration. And I wanna help you sink your teeth into something much tastier. Of course, I don’t claim to be able to help everyone. Far from it. But if you’re someone who CAN stick with it, I can show you how to turn dreams and ideas into a money-making business. Or find yourself a better position with an established company. Or simply get the job you want. “Yes, I believe I can help you Get Ready, Be Ready, and Stay Ready when I help you…System Think.”

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Ronda Macrory,
Business Coach and consultant,

August 31, 2021

Session #5: How to Select a School for Your Scholar


Colorado families have the option to participate in School Choice, which allows students to apply to attend a public Kindergarten-12th grade school located outside of their immediate neighborhood or school district.

There are so many things families consider when choosing a school. Most important is what YOU need and desire from a school.  This workshop is designed for you and your student to find the school that is the best fit for you — Public, Charter, Private, Homeschool, Online, or Micro School/Learning Pods.

This interactive session will allow students and parents to reflect, discuss, and explore goals and values to best select an educational choice that meets their needs.

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Lori Bitar, CEO, Academic Advocates

September 2, 2021

Session #6: Family Yoga


Studio: 2820 E. Pikes Peak Ave

Join us for one-hour of family yoga.  Yoga combines physical exercises, mental meditation, and breathing techniques together to create the mind, body, and spirit connection

5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Leona M. Abdullah-Ward
Owner, In-Balance

Series: Must commit to all eight (8) sessions

September 9 to October 28



Track #1: CorePurpose Day 2

Must commit to all eight (8) sessions

CorePurpose and CorePurpose2.0 transform lives by empowering people from all backgrounds to live full, productive, and generous lives of PURPOSE and meaning.  PURPOSE in Life is a basic human need. These novel, innovative and fun curricula incorporate brain science and human development to break the cycle of poverty mindsets so that PURPOSE can be identified to solve a social/community problem.  In an 18-month pilot study covering five counties in Colorado:

  1. 90% of participants exited dependency on Social Services.
  2. 100% of High School students who participated in this study (these students were at risk for expulsion due to attitudinal problems, poor attendance, and grades) experienced improved attitudes, attendance, school participation (such as sports), and improved grades at least 1-2 letters.  Additionally, these same students changed from “no intention to pursue higher education” to “fully intending to pursue higher education.

In the UK, 94% of High School participants went on to pursue higher education. 100% of participants in all groups (internationally and domestically) studied experienced a measurable improvement in HOPE.

PURPOSE is a game-changer. These programs help people embrace change so they can discover their PURPOSE, abandon poverty mindsets, connect with healthy relationships, and engage in improving the quality of life for themselves and their communities.

Location:  TBA


6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Victoria Jeffs,
Executive Director,
Day 2/Day 2 International

Series: Must commit to all three (3) sessions

September 13
October 4
November 18


Track #2: Cooking Matters at Home

(Must commit to all three (3) sessions)

September 13th

The Family Kitchen – Get the whole family involved in mealtime and teach the kids how to pick healthier options at the store.

October 4th

Hack Your Snack – Learn to snack smart and identify healthier options when eating out.

November 18th

A Thanksgiving Meal – Healthier versions of our Thanksgiving favorites, but just as delicious!

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Jessie Henderson
Care and Share

September 20, 2021

Session #7: Does your child have an IEP or 504 plan?


If your scholar has an IEP/504 Plan this is a must attend session.  So many changes have occurred since last year and to guarantee you understand your rights as a family, please plan to attend this session to support your scholar. 

In the beginning, this process seems overwhelming to most parents, so you are not alone. Ultimately, you will need to learn how to be an advocate for your child. Parents are responsible for looking out for their children’s interests.

Learn more about the identification process and to learn more about how schools are required to support your student during this time of COVID learning loss.

Location:  506 E. Moreno

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Lori Bitar,
CEO, Academic Advocates

Series: Must commit to all six (6) sessions

October 11th to
November 15th


Track #1: Strategies for Success – Parent Session

(Must commit to all six (6) sessions)

Parents did you know that children think differently from adults?

The Pillars for Success for Parents is a program that teaches parents to understand and successfully redirect/reverse challenging behaviors by:

  • Disengaging from the power struggle
  • Establishing and maintaining crystal clear boundaries
  • Learning behavioral techniques to avoid misperceptions and communicate effectively
  • Empowering the child to initiate pro-social behavior choices by implementing the technique of “irresistible influence” to effectively replace futile power struggles
  • Building the child’s self-esteem and sense of mastery by presenting the child with choices that guarantee the adult’s ultimate control while simultaneously empowering the child
  • Implementing well-timed praise seasoned with sincere and appropriate empathy.

Location:  TBA


6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Sandra Kwesell,
Pillars for Success – Families in Transition

October 13, 2021


Session #8: Engaging with Family w/o Technology

How many of our scholars were overstimulated with technology last year due to the pandemic?  How many families still feel the pressure of technology overload.  This session will identify alternatives and an opportunity to show families how to connect without the use of technology.  One of the goals of the session is to introduce some character-building activities.

Location:  TBA

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Betty McDonald,
School Engagement Librarian,
Family & Children’s Services

October 19, 2021


Session #9: How Colorado’s Marijuana Program Impacts Your Family

Has Colorado’s legal marijuana program lived up to the promises made?  Do our children have less access? Less use? Is the tax revenue helping our schools? Are our children more educated about the harms and risks? Jo McGuire will share all of the latest data that impacts families and what everyone needs to know for healthiest outcomes.

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Jo McGuire,
President, CEO,
Five Minutes of Courage
November 4, 2021


5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Session #10: Exercise Sneakers

Join us for one-hour of exercise.  This session is designed for those struggling with weight issues or limited exercise.  This session will support those dealing with ankle, shoulder, hips, and back issues.  Everyone is welcome to learn the best way to take care of your health.

Studio:  2820 E. Pikes Peak Avenue

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Leona M. Abdullah-Ward
Owner, In-Balance

November 10, 2021


Session #11: Resilience and Grit

The past year has taught us about stress and hardships but also resilience in ourselves and our community. Learn what resilience is and how to foster it in yourself and your family. This session will focus on specific skills and activities for families to boost resilience and strengths. Also learn about the GRIT Resilience Course available for free from the National Institute for Human Resilience at UCCS. The GRIT Course provides foundational education on stress and resilience, as well as concrete steps to reaching out to others in your community and family. This course is packed with resources and healthy activities to use for yourself and to provide to others!

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Nicole Weis,
National Institute for Human Resilience
November 11, 2021

1st Session
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

2nd Session
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Session #12: Real Talk – Boys

Come join us for an In-Person session with Dedrick Sims.  This will be an interactive session with pre-work that will foster real conversation with our young male scholars.

1st Session – Middle School – 11 -14 years of age

2nd Session – High School – 15 – 18 years of age

Location:  TBA

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Dedrick Sims,
CEO, Sims-Fayola Foundation

December 2, 2021

Session #13: The Digital Boy II


Digital Boy vs Natural Boy: Age 13 will explore Ages 13 to 18.  Digital Boy I – Birth to Age 13 can be found on our YouTube Channel. We will continue to look at the dangers of excessive screen time on the natural development of young men into adulthood. Parents will walk away with a deeper understanding of how their sons develop and what they can do to build healthy young men in the digital age!

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Dedrick Sims,
CEO, Sims-Fayola Foundation

Please be advised. These sessions could be changed or postponed due to instructor cancellations, school dynamics or limited enrollment.