TMW Center Newsletter May 2021

May 10, 2021

Yolie Flores joins the TMW Center as National Campaign Director of Parent Nation

The TMW Center is thrilled to announce that, as of today, Yolie Flores has joined us as National Campaign Director of our new initiative, Parent Nation. Parent Nation is an exciting mobilization effort, rooted in science, to help push for a society that better supports parents in their role as children’s first and most important teachers.

Yolie joins the TMW Center from the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR), where she served as Chief Learning Officer and led the CGLR Successful Parents Initiatives. She supported a network of more than 350 communities across the nation in their efforts to imbed a focus on supporting parents as they worked to ensure early school success for more children from economically-challenged families.

Over her thirty-year career, Yolie has held leadership roles in the non-profit, local government, and philanthropic sectors, where she has championed families, particularly those that are most vulnerable and most likely to be denied opportunity to succeed. Since the beginning of her career, Yolie has recognized the incredible power of parents and has focused much of her work on promoting parent engagement and parent leadership. While serving as an elected member of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education, Yolie authored the Parents as Equal Partners in the Education of Their Children board resolution. As CEO of the Los Angeles County Children’s Planning Council, she launched Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors, a nationally recognized parent leadership program for Latino parents with children 0-5 years old. More recently, she was appointed to the Board of Directors of Parents as Teachers (PAT), the nation’s most replicated early childhood home visiting program, and Parent Teacher Home Visits, a national effort to foster strong parent-teacher partnerships.

“There is simply no one better qualified or more aligned with the vision of the TMW Center to lead our Parent Nation initiative,” said TMW Center founder and co-director Dr. Dana Suskind. “In her decades working on behalf of parents and children, across systems and sectors, Yolie has demonstrated her ability to ignite passion, drive change, and open doors of opportunity for all families.”

Under Yolie’s leadership, Parent Nation will launch a national multimodal campaign and introduce a science-based framework for parent mobilization that can be adopted and adapted for use by any number of family-serving organizations.

The Parent Nation framework, drawn from Dr. Suskind’s forthcoming book by the same title, uses the science of early brain development to illustrate the disconnect between what children need from parents and caregivers in order to develop optimally and what our society’s norms and policies actually enable those adults to provide. It helps parents identify the gaps they’d like to see filled in a porous social support system and incites them to action. Critically, this framework is flexible rather than prescriptive, deferential rather than dogmatic. Parent Nation recognizes and celebrates the incredible diversity of parents in this nation and strives to provide tools that individuals and groups can use to identify and advance their own needs.

“We know that parents are the most influential factor in the well-being and success of children,” said Flores. “But as a nation we do too little to give parents the support they need and deserve to succeed in their roles. Parent Nation will encourage and equip parents to call for a different society – one that honors and support parents. And it will celebrate and partner with the intrepid individuals and organizations that have been leading the fight for change for decades.”

Over the past year, more and more Americans have come to understand what parents and allies have known for decades: our approach to supporting parents and families, particularly those in under-resourced communities and those with young children, is woefully inadequate at best and non-existent at worst. At long last, our nation is taking steps to remedy this injustice. And yet, a future in which American society is oriented around robust support for families is far from certain. It will take an enormous, concerted effort to ensure that relief is not short-lived, that parents and especially mothers have the opportunity to return to the workforce should they wish to do so, that families have the freedom and security to meet their children’s needs in the way that works best for them.

Parents and their allies have the opportunity and the power to turn this remarkable moment in American life into a watershed that alters the trajectory of our future. The TMW Center is proud to be a part of that effort, guided by Yolie Flores’s visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to parents.