Gathering around a bountiful table with delights from all over the world, Irish alumni, graduates of the Pathways to Parental Involvement (PPI) Program and representatives of the U.S. Embassy Dublin celebrated the American holiday of Thanksgiving in the elegant surroundings at Boston College’s Irish Institute.

The evening began with a warm welcome by Mary Ryan, convenor of the PPI program and IUSA Board Member.  She thanked all those who helped to support the program and officially launched the new Immigrant Parent’s Support Association (IPSA).  The presentation of certificates followed and each parents was congratulated by Nusha Yonkova, Anti-Trafficking Project Coordinator at the Immigrant Council of Ireland.   PPI is a 9-week program aimed at facilitating immigrant parents to become informed members of parent

s’ associations in their children’s schools thus enabling them to support their children’s education and socialization into the school community.  The parents represented eight different nationalities, and all have children in primary or secondary school in Dublin.

Following the graduation, Public Affairs Officer, Karyn Posner-Mullen, shared a brief history and interesting facts about Thanksgiving and congratulated all those involved in the partnership for the program.   She noted particularly how the project had grown out of ideas gained during a State Department sponsored study visit to the United States focused on diversity in education.

After the official ceremonies, an evening reception commenced with food from around the world and an opportunity for the alumni – representing many areas of Irish life, the graduates and the Embassy staff to share experiences and understandings of the Irish education system and to encourage the PPI graduates to become actively involved in their school communities.

The IUSA Education Committee will be organizing further events in early 2012 to give additional advice and support to the PPI parents based on their needs as identified during the course, so watch this space for more details!