Moms

Mom of the Week: Ailen Arreaza

Ailen Arreaza is NC Program Director of ParentsTogether.
Ailen Arreaza is NC Program Director of ParentsTogether. Ailen Arreaza

NC Program Director, Ailen Arreaza, 31 of Noda, helped launch the startup nonprofit, ParentsTogether, in March of 2014.

The organization experiments with benefits and services to make parents lives better. Their approach is to conduct rapid experiments to learn quickly about what parents want and need. Keep reading to learn more about this great organization!

Q. How did you get started with ParentsTogether?

A. I joined ParentsTogether because of a deep desire to see more parent and family friendly policies put in place. For example, it’s shocking that the US is the only country in the industrialized world without paid parental leave.

I am also really passionate about creating more community among parents — we’re each other’s best resource and it’s a resource often left untapped.

Q. What exactly is the program?

A. ParentsTogether is a national, nonprofit parent membership organization. Our vision is to provide parents with benefits and services that make their lives easier while also uniting parents as a loud voice for policy change.

We are committed to building a multiracial cross-class organization that is inclusive of all families.

Q. What services and benefits do you offer?

A. Right now, we’re offering a free service called Q4KIDZ, where we send parents a daily, creative question to ask their kids.

Some of the other services we’re thinking about launching in the near future are related to childcare, improving teacher-parent communication and creating more fun, creative activities for families.

Q. Tell me more about Q4KIDZ.

A. Q4KIDZ is your secret weapon for better, more creative conversations with your kids. You can sign up to receive the daily questions via text message or email. Some questions are silly, like “If you could give your belly button a function, what would you make it do?” others are more serious like, “If you could do any kind act for a stranger tomorrow, what would it be?”

Lots of families have turned the questions into part of their daily routines and use them everyday at dinner or on the way to or from school. They’re meant to get everyone in the family taking, sharing and having fun. Parents can sign up by visiting: http://q4kidz.parents-together.org or texting Q29 to 675309.

Q. What types of revelations did you have when you were a new mom?

A. I remember being home with tons of support from family and friends and thinking about a single mom friend who’d had twins and didn’t have any family around.

Even with tons of people helping out, I still felt like I could have used an extra hand — so I can’t imagine what it’s like for folk who are new to Charlotte and don’t have those built-in support networks. Having help and a strong support system is crucial.

Q. Aside from ParentsTogether, you write for Creative Loafing. What do you usually write about?

A. I write about all sorts of things — sometimes about parenting, sometimes about issues like race, religion, immigration, etc.

Q. What kinds of issues affecting families and parenting do you see in Charlotte?

A. In my conversations with local parents, I’ve heard concern around issues surrounding education (access, equity, testing), childcare and the need for more kid-friendly spaces in Charlotte. I’ve also noticed that, while there are some groups of parents doing really incredible things we need to work better together.

Q. How can our readers help in making a change?

A. We are always looking for parents to interview and talk our ideas through with. We really want to build this organization with parents for parents. So please, reach out if you are passionate about building a stronger parent community or if you want to learn more about what we’re up to!

You can get more info at www.parents-together.org or via email at ailen@parents-together.org.

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