On May 23rd, Raising A Reader MA sponsored the 2018 Sustaining Partner Network Meeting, which focused on establishing networks among participating Sustaining Partners, fostering the exchange of best practices and celebrating the completion of another successful academic year. The event was exclusive to Sustaining Partners, four panelists, RAR MA staff and one Parent Ambassador. During the event, attendees shared their needs, opinions and suggestions for practices primarily focused on parent engagement and materials replacement.
Our keynote speaker was Donna DiFillippo, former RAR MA founder. Mrs. DiFillippo spoke about the lessons gained on the collaboration between partners, families and RAR MA and how, as the needs and demands of our families are evolving, so must we. Donna shared the perspective she gained through the years on the limitations of time and money on our family and partners, reminded us of the importance in treating parents as partners too, and encouraged the entire group to remember that each of our failures helps us to move forward in our work.
During the day, event attendees had the opportunity to submit needs and make offers to their fellow attendees through the Market Place Icebreaker. Topics included: Parent Ambassadors, Engaging Parents through workshops throughout the year, Variations of RAR MA depending on partnership or targeted audience, materials, resources, funding, etc. Following was a structured panel forum, where participants were presented with background information on three separate programs and from the RAR MA Parent Liaison on strategies for engaging families around bags, workshops and volunteer opportunities.
There was also an activity where partners practiced modifying gently used books into Touch and Feel resources. At the end of the event, partners were able to take home the recommendations developed during the event as well as a token of appreciation.