Over 250 people celebrated the graduation of 67 Latino parents from Identity’s Parent Leadership Academy | Padres Latinos Conectados at the Silver Spring Civic Center on Thursday June 29th. It was an emotional experience for all, especially the graduating Parent Leaders who completed a rigorous year-long training in leadership, advocacy, community building, partnering and navigating the school system.

Almost 300 parents have now completed the program, which expands Latino parents’ civic engagement and advocacy to improve educational, health and workforce outcomes for their families. Padres Latinos Conectados reflects Identity’s belief that impacted communities must have a leading role in identifying and driving lasting change and creating a county responsive to their need.

The keynote address was delivered by Natali Fani-González, Councilmember for Montgomery County’s 6th District. Councilmember Fani-González understands better than most how the qualities nurtured through Padres Latinos Conectados can change the course of a child’s life. Arriving in the United States from Venezuela at age 16 speaking no English, she credits her mother’s resilience and refusal to give up as key factors in motivating her to pursue the path that ultimately led her to elected office.

Other speakers at the event included Diana Silva, Program Manager of Identity’s Advocacy and Parent Leadership programs, and Identity Board member Ivonne Corsino Lindley, who shared her own remarkable and inspiring journey from a young Latina who dreamed of one day being a lawyer to becoming a principal partner at Stein Sperling.

Identity’s Parent Leadership Academy is supported, in part, by funding from Comcast, if: A Foundation for Radical Possibility, the Meyer Foundation, the Weissberg Foundation, and the Latino Health Initiative’s Youth Wellness Program.