A new initiative aimed at strengthening the parent community at St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) is quickly gaining recognition and an endless amount of praise.
‘Parent socials,’ hosted by the SMCS Parents’ Association (SMCSPA), are casual social gatherings where current SMCS parents come together to mingle, reconnect, and form new friendships.
“The idea of parent social events started with a mom who was very eager to connect with other St. Michael’s parents,” says Dora Garcia-Strube, PA Class Rep Coordinator and mother of a current Grade 10 student at SMCS. “Together we approached class reps with the idea to organize a casual night out for Grade 7, 8, and 9 moms to celebrate the end of the school year.”
“Attendance at the multi-grade ‘Mom’s Night Out’ exceeded our expectations and clearly demonstrated an appetite for more informal social interactions between SMCS parents,” she adds.
On Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 126 moms attended the first event with many requesting that the SMCSPA continue hosting these types of events on a regular basis. Garcia-Strube along with fellow PA Class Rep Coordinators, Jennifer Hinder and Cynthia Papadakis, took the positive feedback and ran with it, with the full backing of the SMCSPA Executive.
Fast-forward to the current academic year, where together with their team of over 50 class parents, they hosted six more parent socials this fall, ranging from coffee to cocktails, and totalling well over 300 parents in attendance.
“In order to engage as many parents as possible on a limited budget, the PA decided to start hosting fall events for each individual grade to provide a more manageable, cost-effective solution, with more intimate social settings,” says Hinder. “We were surprised and delighted by the turnouts–particularly the senior grades, many of whom said they wished they had similar events in years past.”
The feedback the SMCSPA has received from parents who attended the fall social events has also been very positive.
Lena Miranova, a new SMCS mother attended the Grade 9 parent social in early November. “I was thrilled to meet so many of my son’s new friends’ parents and compare notes,” she says.
“Our ultimate goal would be to host casual social events twice a year (fall and spring) to enlist most, if not all, current parents as we feel this is an effective way to support our boys through increased parent engagement,” says Hinder.
The Parents’ Association plans to continue hosting socials and hopes parents will be inspired to organize additional informal gatherings or ‘meet-ups’ throughout the year to further strengthen the SMCS community.
“We encourage all parents to come out, get involved, and make a difference,” says Garcia-Strube. “All ideas are welcome!”