Congratulations, Rise Parent Advocate Training Program Graduates!

On October 13, Rise celebrated the completion of the Fall 2022 cohort of our Parent Advocate Training Program. This Rise program provides training for impacted parents working as Parent Advocates in NYC foster and preventive agencies. It prepares Parent Advocates to support parents with achieving faster family reunification and advocating for their families by equipping Parent Advocates with information, tools and resources that they can share with parents. 

We joined in community on Zoom to honor nine graduating Parent Advocates:

  • Sherryann Anderson, Harlem Dowling
  • Lanina Cash, Rising Ground 
  • Rhonda Frazier-Johnson, Harlem Dowling 
  • Karseemia King, The New York Foundling 
  • Moneesha Malloy, Harlem Dowling 
  • Allison Moore, Cardinal McCloskey Community Services (CMCS)
  • Tiamah Parker, Catholic Guardian Services
  • Nalini Ramdin, Children’s Aid
  • Kevin Shaw, Children’s Aid

We are deeply grateful to our many community partners who provided training workshops throughout the program!

>> See the event slides, which feature quotes from the graduating Parent Advocates.
>> Read our Parent Advocate Training Program FAQ to learn more about the program.

Praise Poems by Parent Advocates

Based on a West African tradition, praise poems are written by community members as a way to acknowledge the “light” or value in each other. Praise poems are created so that each community member—regardless of their status—is celebrated for who they are, the gifts they offer and the journey they are on. Parent Advocates wrote praise poems as part of the Parent Advocate Training Program’s writing workshop series. 

Praise Poem by Rhonda Frazier-Johnson
I am Rhonda
I am resilient
Grandchild of prosperity and peace
My journey is love and peace
I see myself as a blessed child of the most high
I am a warrior
People see me as strong

Praise Poem by Karseemia King
I am pain. Who is pain? Pain is me (Karseemia King).
Who has no ownership over her life?
I am a child of God, a child of traumatic stress, 
Grandchild to the most loved who has passed. 
People see me as this broken tree branch, leaves falling on a fall day. 
I see me as my pain to pass, looking for relief, closing these wounds. 
My journey is soaring to a new mission, releasing the pain from my past. 
So we say, we ask?
Who am I?
I say again, I am pain. 
Pain is me, 
The Child of God.

Praise Poem by Teresa Marrero
I am Teresa Maria, proud Taurus
Child Of Rosa Maria and Victor Marrero 
Like the roots of a tree, stubbornly grounded in my ways 
People see me as a leader 
I see myself as a follower who is learning to lead 
I am on a journey of healing

Praise Poem by Allison Moore
I am Allison
Child of Renee
Grandchild of Eloise
I am a child of strength and pride
I am medium build and a loving child of God
My journey is to spread love and peace

Praise Poem by Kevin Shaw
I am Kevin, a child of pain
Strong like the waves in the ocean
Seen as a menace 
Grandchild to peace
I see myself as a wandering soul
On a journey to find myself and happiness. 

Graduation Poem
During graduation, Parent Advocates shared reflections on their experiences in the training program. One Parent Advocate, Sherryann Anderson, chose to write a poem that she shared as her speech. 

On Tuesday, September 20, 2022, Parent Advocacy began its journey with me,
Oh, what I have learned has only inspired thee,
Building their repertoire, Harlem Dowling sent me here,
As I completed this training, their reason was clear.
To all of you, your advice was a blessing,
It comes from the experience you kept on confessing.
Tears from my face flowed at the start,
The knowledge I acquired built strength in my heart
Advocating for families is the right thing to do
Rise Parent Advocacy will stand by you through and through
The lived experiences were uplifting, inspiring, and genuine
Parent Advocates are helping families until the end of time
The safe space to learn and professionalism on display
The tips, suggestions, and approaches were quite an array
Teresa, as our leader, made the learning fun.
Turning stories of hardship into situations to be won
I am ready to do this work and help  families thrive
Always doing my best and being prepared to strive
The 90-day Model is where we begin
To begin this journey is always a win-win
We learned to know when to negotiate.
It will help us become and make valuable associates
With Rise by your side, we all will be GREAT!
Today October 13, 2022, is not goodbye; this is only good luck
I am keeping all your numbers for those days when I am stuck
To Jeanette, I say thank you; You filled a void,
Just be prepared for us—and me to annoy
To my colleagues, you are the best,
We will advocate for families, and we will never rest.

-Sherryann Anderson, Harlem Dowling

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