As part of the “I Have a Dream: Creating Your Life Portfolio” pilot program launched last fall, parental engagement activities inspire parents of children with and without disabilities to be actively involved in their children's lives and education to help them reach their fullest potential

(Atlanta, GA – Feb. 14, 2012) – The Southeast ADA Center, Nesbit Elementary School, the Nesbit Elementary PTA and several other local organizations have joined together to celebrate National Parental Engagement Week Feb.13-17, 2012 and to host a special breakfast briefing on Feb. 15 from 9 -10:30 a.m. at Gwinnett County’s Nesbit Elementary School. The parental engagement activities and breakfast briefing are part of the year-long I Have a Dream: Creating Your Life Portfolio” pilot program at Nesbit Elementary created by the Southeast ADA Center to break down barriers and encourage students with and without disabilities to reach for their dreams and achieve their fullest potential.

The Feb. 15 breakfast briefing includes state and local speakers and parents sharing effective strategies and stories of what it means and looks like to be actively engaged in your child’s education and how the time parents dedicate now makes a lifetime difference. Breakfast briefing speakers include:

In addition to the breakfast briefing, parents and children will be inspired to participate in a week of activities at home designed to inspire conversation and meaningful familial and educational engagement. Activities include taking a walk together, enjoying a meal together, reading together, giving to others together by contributing to a canned food drive and dreaming together by writing out one dream for their family on a paper heart which will be displayed on a school bulletin board.

In addition to the Southeast ADA Center, a project of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University, Nesbit Elementary School and the Nesbit Elementary School Parent Teacher Association (PTA), additional local partners include ABEL2 and the Georgia Parent Mentor Partnership.

The parental engagement week activities represent the second part of the three-phase I Have a Dream: Creating Your Life Portfolio” pilot program created by the Southeast ADA Center to encourage students with and without disabilities to dream big for their futures. The Southeast ADA Center is pioneering the three-phase program at Nesbit Elementary and plans to replicate it in other area schools as well as schools throughout the southeast. In addition to parental engagement week activities, the Southeast ADA Center and Nesbit Elementary along with local partners hosted a disability mentoring day and career expo in October 2011 where students were mentored in small group sessions by successful adults with disabilities from the community. The event, in celebration of October’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month, was created to break down barriers and introduce students with and without disabilities to individuals with disabilities from the community who have achieved their dreams personally and professionally to encourage the children to dare to dream about their futures. In May 2012, an Exceptional Children’s Week is planned to encourage communication and relationship building among peers with and without disabilities.

“Meaningful and impactful parental engagement is an important key to a child’s love of learning, self-esteem and lifelong success and achievement for children with and without disabilities,” said L. Elaine Sutton Mbionwu, assistant project director of the Southeast ADA Center. “The Southeast ADA Center is honored to join with Nesbit Elementary School, Gwinnett County Public Schools and local community organizations to put on this important event to inspire parents and children that anything is possible for their futures.”

To learn more, visit the “I Have a Dream: Creating Your Life Portfolio” website at

About the Southeast ADA Center

The Southeast ADA Center answers questions, provides training and materials about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Center serves an eight-state geographic region: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. As part of the ADA National Network sponsored by grants from the U.S. Department of Education's National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), the Southeast ADA Center is one of 10 regional centers offering training and technical assistance to promote voluntary compliance with the ADA, including information about the rights of people with disabilities and the responsibilities of businesses as well as state and local governments to provide equal opportunity to participate. The Southeast ADA Center is a grant project of the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University. For more information, visit the Southeast ADA Center website [].

About the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University

BBI reaches around the globe to advance the civic, economic, and social participation of people with disabilities. Launched in 2005, BBI builds on the legacy of Burton Blatt, former dean of SU's School of Education and a pioneering disability rights scholar, to better the lives of people with disabilities. BBI engages in projects on civil and human rights, inclusive entrepreneurship, employment, and economic empowerment. With a staff of more than 50, BBI has offices in Syracuse, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. For more information, visit the BBI website [].


Lisa Karp
Southeast ADA Center
404-541-9001 [voice/tty]