DREAAM sets first session of new Effective Black Parenting program next month

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CHAMPAIGN — A local nonprofit is hosting a free four-month class to support Black parents.

Driven to Reach Excellence and Academic Achievement for Males will hold its first Effective Black Parenting session in late February, with the program lasting about 15 weeks, said DREAAM founder and CEO Tracy Dace.

“The curriculum is an opportunity for families to learn more strength-based ways to support their children, to really provide them with the nurturing and parental care that they need in order to be successful in school and also at home and in the community,” he said.

He added that while the organization has used the Effective Black Parenting curriculum before, this is their first time implementing the full program across 16 weeks.

The curriculum comes from the D.C. Children’s Trust Fund, said Kim Nix-McClain with DREAAM.

According to Dace, the organization initially planned to serve a target number of 15 parents through the class. However, after marketing the program, DREAAM received responses from about 36 interested parents, and they hope to serve at least 30.

Topics will include communication skills, setting expectations and relationship-building. Dace added that the curriculum is designed to reduce parents’ stress by giving them more tools to support their children. It is also aimed at developing cultural pride.

“One of the parts that we are excited about DREAAM is using this experience of Effective Black Parenting to begin to build a parent empowered community,” Dace said. “We want to build a parent learning community so that they’re growing and learning beyond the Effective Black Parenting program and they can become advocates, not only for their children, but they can become advocates for the community.”

The program is being supported by a grant, and there is no cost for parents to participate. Additionally, participants will receive weekly giveaways of household items, a weekly family meal and a monetary incentive. Child care will also be provided.

The program will culminate with a graduation in late June at the I Hotel and Conference Center, Dace said.

Those who wish to learn more about DREAAM’s Effective Black Parenting classes can contact the organization via email at [email protected].

Dace said that parent empowerment and parent development is one of the ways in which DREAAM hopes to address the community’s needs.

“It’s important for us to create these spaces for parents to learn more, be empowered, share and, like I said, create this kind of learning community so that we can include parents in ‘How do we make our community stronger and more resilient?’” he said.