Parents for Public Schools received a $20,000 contribution from AT&T Aspire for the Philadelphia Chapter's upcoming parent leadership seminar.

The check was presented last week in City Hall by C. D. Smith, director of External and Legislative Affairs for AT&T Mississippi.

"AT&T is proud to support the Parents of Public Schools' Engagement Program, a project that will enrich lives and positively impact Mississippi by preparing our youth to successfully achieve their educational goals," Smith said.

The $20,000 contribution is intended to help fund the upcoming Parent Engagement Program which will be hosted at Philadelphia High School. The weekend seminar is set to focus on dropout prevention.

This is the first time PPS has sponsored a seminar like this which reaches out to students as well, officials said.

Parents for Public Schools empowers parents to overcome barriers that often prevent them from becoming involved in their child's education and equips parents to help their children achieve educational goals.

"With family involvement and encouragement, children are more likely to stay in school, continue their education beyond high school and become tomorrow's leaders," Mayor James A. Young said.

Chiquita Jones, co-president of the Philadelphia chapter, said she looked forward to hosting the event with the other co-president, Joey Kilgore.

"I think statistics are very clear that a person who doesn't graduate high school is at a handicap for the rest of their lives and just getting past that hurdle is very important in finding future success," Kilgore said.

Jones said they plan to bring in a number of speakers to engage about 20 parents to discuss ways to improve family involvement across the Philadelphia Public School District.

"A well educated person creates advantages for themselves and in their community whereas a high dropout rate can contribute to a number of other problems," Young said.

State Rep. Michael Evans said the Engagement Program was an important investment in our children's future.

"Family involvement, and especially parental involvement, are key contributors to success in school and beyond," he said. "This wonderful program will help ensure our parents and caregivers are prepared to help their children graduate career and college ready."

PPS has chapters all over the United States and aims to "educate, engage and mobilize parents" in their community schools. Joann Mickens, Chapter Service Director for PPS of Jackson, said that the Engagement Program is one of many key functions of the organization.

"Parents for Public Schools' Engagement is just one of the ways our chapter in Philadelphia is able to strengthen family involvement and assist in student success," Mickens said. "We applaud AT&T Mississippi for their continued commitment to education and are thrilled to have AT&T Aspire's support, which helped establish this meaningful program."

The event will be in late January. Seats are limited and the deadline for registration is Jan. 8. For more information contact Kilgore at 601-562-2700, Jones at 601-650-8811 or the Meridian office at 601-286-3622.

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