Hispanic parents graduate from Opening Doors program

All Saints Church hosts 10-week parenting class

By Dan McWilliams

Rosie Noriega, standing right, and Zulay Navarro-Pickering lead the final class in the Abriendo Puertas program May 5 at All Saints Church.

More than a dozen Hispanic parents graduated May 5 from the 10-week Abriendo Puertas (“Opening Doors”) parenting program held at All Saints Church in Knoxville.

The “Abriendo Puertas” project is a collaboration of the Office of Hispanic Ministry of the Diocese of Knoxville and the Latino Task Force. These offices are deeply grateful to Catholic Charities of East Tennessee and Catholic Charities USA for providing this training, said Blanca Primm, who is with the Office of Hispanic Ministry.

On graduation day, the parents participated in the final class, attended a skit, and received their certificates of completion in the program, which is being promoted nationwide by Catholic Charities.

Zulay Navarro-Pickering and Rosie Noriega served as instructors for “Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors.”

“This parenting workshop is an evidence-based curriculum. We use cultural values, strengths and experiences of Latino families. It engages parents at a very personal level and it results in transformative learning. Parents are the first teachers in a child’s life” Ms. Navarro-Pickering said.

It was an enthusiastic group that took part in the program.

“Parenting is rewarding, but it has its challenges, especially in our society that is losing family values,” Ms. Navarro-Pickering said.

The 10 weekly themes included topics such as “I am my child’s first teacher,” “my child grows,” “my child talks,” “our health is first,” and “let’s go to school.”

“Each week we had a different theme,” Ms. Navarro-Pickering said. “We talked, for instance, about communication, how this can affect our relationships at all levels: parents-children, husband and wife, parents-teachers, co-workers.”

Mrs. Noriega said the Abriendo Puertas program “means the world.”

“It means an opportunity to help our Hispanic parents, who may need a little help to prepare their children to start kindergarten, preschool, or even first grade,” she said. “This program is beautifully designed so that parents can prepare and learn more information and resources about child development and what all the factors are that they need in order to prepare their children for their first day of school.

“Everything from holding a pen, recognizing letters, starting their reading efforts, even if they are 3 years old, and also to socialize and know how to share and be really prepared emotionally, physically, linguistically, and academically to start their preschool or even kindergarten.” ■

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