Mirta presenting at the Active
Parenting Training of Trainers
by Mirta Sanchez
It's been almost twenty years since I first heard about the Active
Parenting program. At the time I was working as a Program Coordinator
for a Navy Family Service Center and my boss had spent "end
of the year" funds on all sorts of materials and programs.
My job was to review all the materials and recommend only programs
that met the needs of the service members and their families.
Needless to say, I immediately fell in love with Active Parenting.
When compared with other parenting programs; AP was innovative,
interactive, and gave parents the opportunity to internalize
the information; practice at home the concepts studied in class
and model behaviors, which incorporated the changes they wanted
to see in their children.
Back then I was
struggling to offer this program in creative ways that would
allow the military and their families as many options as possible
so that they could make it part of their daily routines. I offered
the program as a "lunch 'n' learn," as an after hours
program at the schools, and I was even able to include segments
of the program as part of the military members' deployment and
transition training. Back then I was struggling to offer this
program in creative ways that would allow the military and their
families as many options as possible so that they could make
it part of their daily routines. I offered the program as a "lunch
'n' learn," as an after hours program at the schools, and
I was even able to include segments of the program as part of
the military members' deployment and transition training. I later
realized that the Active Parenting program could be offered using
different modalities without affecting its content and to different
groups of parents; I also started conducting parenting classes
at my church.
I found that all
parents needed support and information on how to improve communication
with their children offered in a safe non-threatening environment.
They quickly learned that this program gave them the opportunity
to discuss communication, discipline, and the pros and cons of
punishment and rewards without negative repercussions and that
the new skills developed would improve their parenting skills.
One of the things that never ceased to amaze me was the overwhelming
response from parents to participate and learn, learn, learn.
I believe this has to do with the format the program uses and
how well Dr. Michael H. Popkin uses the activities, discussions
and videos to help parents understand that the purpose of parenting
is "to protect and prepare our children to survive
and thrive in the kind of society in which they live".
I am now looking forward to taking the program to Spanish-speaking
communities in Central Florida and Puerto Rico. A few weeks ago,
I met with the Assistant Bishop of the Methodist Church in Puerto
Rico to introduce the program to her and she could immediately
see the benefit and advantage of offering AP in Puerto Rico.
We specifically discussed the need for parent education in the
Hispanic community for parents, teenage parents and grandparents
raising grandchildren as well. We are currently working on strategies
to roll out the program in Puerto Rico that includes a marketing
plan which will introduce providers, church community and parents
to the program; conducting parenting classes and preparing leaders
to train parents.
A Chinese proverb comes to mind: "One generation
plants the trees; another gets the shade." As
a parent, a grandmother, and an educator, I am passionate and
totally committed to helping develop thru parenting education
the society in which my grandchildren will live; and I truly
feel that this program will allow me the privilege to improve
the lives of the families it touches.
Mirta Sanchez is president of I AM DAPS,
LLC, and a Bilingual Independent Contract Trainer. She travels
nationwide to provide onsite training. She specializes in the
area of leadership, communication, teambuilding, diversity, human
capital, supervision and management, time management, etc.