The Parent Leadership Training Institute of Alexandria (PLTI) has just crossed the threshhold from fledgling to established. It has offered its intensive civic engagement program to five classes - one class per year - and it is now celebrating the graduation of the fifth class of newly-minted civic activists.
The graduation ceremony was held on Friday, May 13, in city council chambers of Alexandria City Hall, a fitting location since the City of Alexandria is a partner of PLTI and encourages its civic engagement goals.
Dignitaries on hand to congratulate the graduates and to speak to them during the program, were Mayor Bill Euille, Alexandria City Public Schools Superintendent Morton Sherman, PLTI founder in Connecticut, Elaine Zimmerman, former Councilwoman and PLTI Board Chair Joyce Woodson. Executive Director, Fay Slotnick, also spoke to the gathering. Council members Del Pepper and Rob Krupicka attended as did Alexandria School Board member Sheryl Gorsuch.
PLTI is a 20-week leadership skills-building program for parents, grandparents and caretakers of children who want to learn how to best advocate for all our children. Students develop and execute a community project as a capstone to their coursework.
Students are trained in community building, public policy, budgeting, how a city and state operate, public speaking, and other skills necessary for effective democracy action. The program is free to class participants, including dinner, childcare, and transportation and translation services, if needed. Childcare also includes a Children's Leadership Training component, giving children a head start on learning how to participate in a democracy.
PLTI's community of graduates is a strong voice for the next generation, receiving awards and recognition for their and continued service on city, school and community advisory boards, and committees.
On Thursday, May 19, PLTI held a Fifth anniversary celebration and fundraiser to help support the program for the upcoming year. One Hundred supporters enjoyed dinner, camaraderie, and music by The W.E.S. Group, a jazz trio led by Dr. Will Smith, former American University music professor, at Convergence on Quaker Lane in Alexandria.