Parents are often considered to be their children’s first educators. Whether it is about teaching the basics of literacy and numeracy, or modeling to kids enduring values such as respect and responsibility, parents play a crucial role in the holistic development of their children as they grow. At Keys, we ensure that parents are recognized in their willingness to roll up their sleeves and lend two helping hands to work together with the school community.
One parent who has shown deep commitment in being involved at Keys is Shine Ruiz, who once served as a Class Parent Ambassador. Shine’s children, Aeon and Zara, Grades 9 and 7 respectively, have been here in Keys for four years now. For Shine, her work as a parent in her children’s education is threefold: support, monitor, and advocate.
“We SUPPORT our children by creating an environment that nurtures their love for learning and adventure. This includes providing needed help and encouragement, celebrating little victories and setting boundaries. Given that our children spend more hours engaged in school than at home, we try to ensure a positive learning environment for them by helping the school whenever we can and in whatever way we can.
We MONITOR their progress in all aspects of their development in order to address any learning gaps and enhance positive experiences.
As our children go through the process of developing self-confidence, social and communication skills, they need guidance and companionship to help voice out unarticulated needs as well as offer skills and capabilities that they can contribute to the school and wider community. We also make an effort to engage our children in realities beyond their comfort zone to develop a sense of compassion and hopefully equip them to grow as ADVOCATES of social justice.”
As a parent who instills the value of social justice in her children, Shine truly walks the talk as she has worked with some of the most impactful endeavors in and out of Keys. During her first three years in the community, Shine, together with a team of dedicated Keys teachers and parents, facilitated and organized some in-campus activities such as the Keys Family Ministry weekly parent prayer meetings (KFM Encounter), Teachers’ Day Celebration (Community Pantry Project), and the Keys Music Ministry for the Thanksgiving Mass and Baccalaureate Mass. She also opened the opportunity for student participation in “Stories and Carols”, a Christmas celebration with orphans of the drug war (Christmas Service Project). She coordinated the Addition Hills Fire Evacuees Relief (Service Project) as well.
“To ‘show active involvement’ was never the end goal. It was always to contribute to providing the best possible learning experience and environment for our children. When an opportunity arises and we can help, we help. My humble experience as a former school educator, campus minister and student activities coordinator were put to good use in the Keys community,” she states.
Shine believes that Keys and the parents are strong partners in children’s education and formation. “We try to keep open communication lines with all school personnel. We try to respond to school surveys and evaluation forms, participate in school community events, attend PTC’s, give feedback to teachers, coordinate with coaches, and others. It truly takes a village to raise our children.”
We are proud to say that our school has its arms wide open to every parent who dedicates their time in cultivating a healthy relationship within the community, all for the benefit of the students. Like what Shine testifies, “The school administrators, class teachers, and other school personnel are often approachable.”
Shine’s word of encouragement for all Keys parents is simple yet compelling—BE ENGAGED!