Regional Parent Engagement Advisory Groups


Be Strong Families envisions a world where vulnerable parents and families are fundamentally recognized as the architects and change agents of their own lives and engaged as a force for positive change in communities and society.

Families are the foundation of communities, and parent leaders across the country are coming together to strengthen this foundation. We partner with groups of parent leaders to advance their goals and the mission, vision, and values of Be Strong Families.




Be Strong Families Regional Parent Engagement Advisory Groups (RPEAs) are groups of parents who have come together through shared enthusiasm for improving their own lives, the lives of their children, and the strength of their families and communities. They embrace the Strengthening Families Protective Factors, are part of Be Strong Families’ Cafe Community of Practice, and use Parent Cafés as one of the ways they strengthen families and communities. The Regional Parent Advisory Groups are enthusiastic about advising Be Strong Families to better meet the local needs of parents in their area. They weigh in on Be Strong Families’ national agenda, bringing parent issues and concerns to the table, and partner with Be Strong Families to co-create new trainings and Cafés. Each RPEA is represented by a seat on the Be Strong Families board of directors. RPEA members are engaged by Be Strong Families as part-time consultants to support ongoing Cafés and to share Cafés in communities throughout their regions.

Reciprocally, Be Strong Families is committed to accompanying and supporting each RPEA to achieve its self-determined goals. Be Strong Families’ staff as well as the Cafe Community of Practice are resources to these parent leaders as they design and implement events and initiatives to improve their communities and raise funds to advance their agendas. 

Be Strong Families staff meet regularly with RPEAs and provide ongoing opportunities and concrete support for members to enhance their capacity as transformative leaders.

Meet the RPEAS


Consejo de Padres en Acción

Los Angeles, CA

From L-R: Sofia Estevez, Thelma de León, Beatriz Rios, Karelvy Marquez, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Kathia Morales, Maricela Arellano. Front: Nora Caballero. Not pictured: Maricela Lozano, Maria de la Torre.

Our goal for this year is to continue supporting Parent Cafés in our area to promote the Protective Factors and strengthening ourselves at the same time that we transform communities. We are committed to promoting Parent Cafés in our schools and our community to keep impacting other parents. We want to bring more parents to our team and invite them to our Café Host and Table Host trainings. We are willing to take all trainings offered by Be Strong Families and learn more about better ways to become better people, parents and leaders in our community.

To learn more about Consejo de Padres en Acción, check out this blog post featuring Protective Factor interviews.


Chicago, IL

From L-R: Dena Chapman (BSF Field Support Coordinator & A More Perfect Union Project Lead) Shirley Davis, John Hamblet, Muriel Brewer & Mychele Lucas. Not pictured: Brenda Carazes & Debra Elliott.

Our goal for this year is to host Cafés in order to reintroduce Cafés in the community and to help recruit parents to our Regional Parent Engagement Advisory group in Chicago.

To learn more about Cook RPEA, check out this blog post featuring Protective Factor interviews.

Philly PLAN (Parent Leader Action Network)

Philadelphia, PA

From L-R: Tasha Brunson, Nadia Washington (BSF Organizational Advancement Manager), Shirley Reynolds, Kim Velasquez (BSF Eastern Region Manager), Terena Clements, Melissa Toby, Dana Johnson, Shadina Allen, Christine Burns.

Our goal this year is to empower our communities, our schools, our families and, of course, ourselves to Be Strong to grow and engage everyone together. We will do this by having more community events and Cafés to inspire others and help people by improving outcomes for families in our community. We also want to be more involved with the youth and kids 8-15 years old.

To learn more about Philly PLAN, check out this blog post featuring Protective Factor interviews.

Oakland Parents Together

Oakland, CA

What we hope to accomplish in the upcoming year is more partnerships and collaborations to continue the work we are doing in Oakland, with concurrent efforts to expand it beyond. Alongside, each team member has their own gifted vision we plan to incorporate into what we already offer the community.

Currently, we hold Cafés Wednesdays from 9am-11am at 935 Union Street, Oakland. 

RPEAs coming soon in Pasadena-Altadena, CA; Peoria, IL; and Washington, D.C.

Contact us at if you are part of a parent-led Parent Café effort and want to learn more about how to become a Be Strong Families Regional Parent Engagement Advisory Group.