Keynote speaker Dr. Joyce Stewarts sends a message to parents “take care of yourselves”.

When the announcement came out that Madison Elementary School was having its first Parent Institute community concerns came up. “This meeting reeks of not working with the parents but assuming the parents aren’t doing their part”, stated a Facebook User. A blessing fell over the attendees as caring words were spoken, words that were true to form landed gracefully in the waiting ears of those in attendance. “We all have a challenge or a struggle, everybody gets one…you run into people and you think, that person doesn’t look like that family has any struggles…doesn’t look like that person has any struggles but I’m here to tell you that people that pretend like they have no struggles or problems they need almost just need to be reminded of it sometimes”, stated Dr. Stewart. Children like parents, families and community members all have struggles, most of us face what sometimes feels like never-ending challenges but understanding one another, doing something in support of another and steering our youth toward positive change can be beneficial to all. During her speech, Dr. Stewart stated that is a requirement that caregivers take care of themselves. “You need take time to take care of yourself. Whenever that is, whatever makes you happy you go do it because you’re not well and you’re not there you can’t be present for your kids and that also means sometimes just having quiet time for yourself”. While many felt that this would be a waste of time, biased, and a “one-sided dig” at parents, local citizen, Jeff Heckathorn wished the organizers of the event the best of luck as, “parenting and home life are the overriding factors for successful students. He and Dr. Stewart were on the same wave length on this one. Down to earth, caring and a great mentor. Dr. Joyce Stewart has my vote! A stream of valid must-do’s and plethora of honest observations were spoken from years of watching parents interact with their youth, the break-out sessions followed and overall the event was a success. Janelle Burke;; 425-953-0598 Photo Credit: Janelle Burke