Become a family leader with training

Have you ever thought about ways to improve programs that affect you and your family but just didn’t know how to share those ideas and make changes? Family members like you have helped communities improve policies, programs, services, activities and community life by participating in the Family Leadership Training Institute (FLTI), sponsored by MECC and coordinated by Trish Peters.

Who are community leaders? They are parents, grandparents, single people, foster parents, and others who want to make our communities better places to live. FLTI gave them the training and skills to make their voices heard and to make changes through projects.

The FLTI uses a proven 20-session curriculum that empowers community members to become effective leaders on behalf of youths and families. It’s based on the idea that the family is a child’s first and most important teacher. Family leaders reflect community diversity, enabling them to share recommendations that are respectful. They have credibility when they inform policymakers, media and communities.

The 20 sessions build skills for civics and democracy. Discussions and participation in weekly sessions highlight the importance of parental involvement and build tools for working with others on accessible health care, the education achievement gap and neighborhood safety. Participants apply their learning to a project that reflects their passion, such as recruiting volunteers for schools; interviewing youths about bullying and violence; mentoring students; forming community gardens; screening for postpartum depression; and advocating for assault victims.

Participants emerge as strong leaders and advocates for all children and their families. Previous graduates of our local FLTI have said things such as:

FLTI begins with a day long retreat in January, followed by 20 weekly evening sessions that include dinner and free childcare. Participation is free. Attendees who complete the program participate in a local graduation ceremony, as well as a ceremony at the state Capitol with other Colorado graduates. Enrollment is limited to 25 applicants who are chosen based on their availability and readiness, as well as how their participation will enhance the group.

Applications are due by mid-December. Visit the FLTI website at and look for the red Accepting Applications Now button on the right of the page. When you apply online, be sure and use the drop-down menu to select Montezuma/Dolores counties. The website has additional information and a video that highlights program benefits. You can contact Trish Peters at 970-560-1360 or 970-564-1669, or by email at:

This will be our fifth year of offering FLTI locally, and we have 40 alumni who are part of a network of parent leaders across the nation. Trish Peters is the FLTI coordinator for the Montelores Early Childhood Council.

Vangi McCoy is the coordinator of the Montelores Early Childhood Council. She is also a part-time instructor at Southwest Colorado Community College and sits on the Dolores School Board.