Dec. Bilingual Parents Advisory Committee meeting stresses the importance of family

By Sarah Reilly

The room smells of pasta, cookies, and garlic bread. Different families sit around talking in Spanish and English. A table with a computer and project sits in front of all the chairs. Just down the hall, the kids are playing. The adults and older kids are getting ready to sit and listen to their guest speaker for the month.

On Dec. 17 at Martin Elementary, the Bilingual Parents Advisory Committee held its one meeting for the month at 5:30. This meeting ended at 8:20 and held about 25 people.

Normally these meetings hold about 70 parents and can have around 50 children in the daycare area. However, Dec. 16 was the first night of Novena, a Christmas tradition for most Columbians and Latin-Americans, so many families could not attend. 

The guest speaker at this meeting was Ferney Ramirez. “Today we are experiencing issues with kids 11, 12, 13 years old who are involved in gangs, drugs, and kids who are, even worse, dropping out of school,” Ramirez said. Ramirez took his time as the guest speaker last night to talk about the importance of setting a good example. He explained that kids are getting into more dangerous situations and need to be pushed further away from that. 

Ramirez spent most of his time talking about the importance of family. He used a line of tape on the ground to represent the transition between childhood to adulthood. On one side you are young and want to impress your parents; after you cross the line into adulthood you care more about your friends or family depending on your time on the line.

In the beginning of the meeting Rócio del Castillo, the Assistant Superintendent for Special Services, explained to parents about English classes after school for Spanish parents. On the flip side, Castillo also talked about the Spanish classes after school for English parents. (In addition, they have a children’s book reading at the library. The books will be in Spanish and directed towards Spanish speakers.)

The meeting was in complete Spanish, but you are still able to understand what is going on if you do not speak Spanish. They used multiple physical examples using the kids in the room to represent the change in life. In the end, they showed a video showing the importance of family.

Family is very important in shaping our lives as young teenagers and at the Bilingual Parents Advisory Committee meeting tonight they wanted to show that. They helped give examples to let children and teens know that they are loved and are enough. They hope that this idea helps kids stray from lives that are gang and drug-related.