TULSA, Okla.— This September, Tulsa Community College (TCC) in partnership with Community Service Council’s Power of Families Project and Rev. Alvaro Nova with Comunidad Esperanza is offering for the first-time a Community Peer Educator, or Promotora, Continuing Education Certificate. Promotoras are lay community advisors who receive specialized training to provide basic information in the community. They serve as liaisons between their neighborhood, schools and community based organizations. As liaisons, they often play the roles of an advocate, educator, mentor, outreach worker and role model.
The certificate classes, supported in part from a March of Dimes Community Award Grant, will take place once a week for seven weeks at the TCC Northeast Campus. The course will feature various training modules focused on the history, responsibilities, methodologies and best practices that encompass effective community peer educator work.
In early August, TCC and the Power of Families Project held an information session to recruit participants. After a round of follow up interviews, 26 individuals, which is the maximum amount for enrollment, signed up and will begin classes in early September.
“Partnering with TCC to offer this certificate will help expand the Promotora model we’ve been using for the past three years for impactful engagement in the community,” said Paige Whalen, CSC’s Education Division Director. “We applaud TCC for seeing the value of the Promotoras and extending the opportunity for more families in Tulsa to benefit from it.”
CSC’s Power of Families Project has successfully used the Promotora model in Tulsa since 2014, originally launched as part of a W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant for equity and family engagement. The Power of Families Project team currently has four promotoras on staff who serve as catalysts for stronger family representation within local school administrative decision making, as well as equitable resources and systems that promote the success of all children.
CSC has primarily used the Promotora strategy within the areas of education and health with a focus on supporting Hispanic families with young children. Plans are in the works at CSC to eventually expand the model into supporting Tulsa’s growing Burmese population as well.
Dr. Angelica Reina is one of the instructors for the community peer educator certificate. She is an assistant professor and George Kaiser Family Foundation Hispanic Outreach Coordinator in the School of Child Development and Education at TCC.
“We know from experience that peer educators are very effective in the Latin American communities when it comes to helping families with information and guidance,” said Reina. “It is our heartfelt hope that this initiative will provide access to education and formalized training to potential Promotoras as well as help improve the lives of families and children in Tulsa.”
The partnership between TCC, CSC and Comunidad de Esperanza will provide the Promotoras with important skills needed to reach families as it relates to child development, education, physical and mental health, and resources and programs available for them.