Adults Relating to Kids (A.R.K.) provides parents with parenting skills to address topics such as effective discipline, homework, family meetings, bully-proofing, and instilling responsibility. The program was developed as a result of research conducted by ARKGroup alongside with the University of Texas School of Public Health.
“They discovered the key to how kids feel about themselves has not to do with a child’s performance. Rather, it has to do with a child being valued and loved by an adult,” said Glenn Wilkerson, president and founder of A.R.K.
The program culminated at Uplift Heights with parent graduation in mid-May. Kate LoSecco, program director for A.R.K wanted to ensure parents knew their value and the impact they were making.
Along with their graduation certificate parents received a flower and a tiara to show gratitude for their commitment for over six months (the program began in October). Uplift Heights Secondary directors and deans encouraged parents to continue to be active at the school.
Uplift Heights Middle School Director Cody Yocom said he has already begun to see a difference in the school environment and parent engagement.
“I hope this is just the beginning of something great,” said Yocom.
The group of primary and secondary parents learned to problem solve and deal with situations at home as well as how to address issues at school.
Maria Gonzalez, mother of two Uplift Heights’ scholars, admits she can be very strict but A.R.K. taught her how to discipline while providing words of affirmation. The program focuses on teaching adults to enable teens and children to value themselves despite their mistakes.
A.R.K encourages parents to use these tactics and in turn it will provide kids with the strength to say “no” to peer pressure.
Gonzalez said she learned to be a bit more flexible and understanding of her children.
“It is difficult because both (of my daughters) have a strong will. The program helped me a lot.”
The group added that A.R.K. did not just provide them discipline methods but in how to deal with everyday parent concerns like bullying and homework. Parents were taught how to address concerns with school personnel, in order to be partners in the education of their children.
“I think it’s so crucial in the middle school and high school years because these are the most crucial years to be really involved with the kids,” said Miranda Pereyda, facilitator and parent.