QUINCY -- A nationally known therapist and best-selling author will offer a free parent program Wednesday night in Quincy.
Jesse W. Jackson III will present "Success or Failure, Parents are the Difference: How to Help Your Children Be Successful in the Classroom" at 6 p.m. in Quincy University's Hall of Fame Room, 1901 Oak.
The program -- sponsored by the Quincy Human Rights Commission, Quincy Public Schools and Quincy Conference -- is a prelude to the conference, slated for Thursday and Friday with Jackson as one of several keynote presenters.
"With this speaker coming, we'd known he'd done parent institutes and worked closely with parents. We felt it would be a great session," said Michaela Fray, one of three co-directors for Quincy Conference. "This is for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, anyone who is caregiving in the home."
Jackson will offer parents important tools to support students, specifically targeting developing a plan for their child's educational success, the role of finances in the education of children, effectively supporting their children's teacher, improving their relationships and parents continuing their own personal education.
Food will be provided beginning at 5:45 p.m., and childcare will be available throughout the event.
Fray said the program provides another way to get parents and the community involved with Quincy Conference which is expected to draw thousands of educators.
"We just know that parents are the rock, the foundation that children have in our region, and so we as educators always want to partner with them," Fray said. "His message is not political by any means, but focused on parents supporting their children and educators working to understand how to continue to provide wraparound services to children and to really work with the parents."
QPS Superintendent Roy Webb said Jackson's message also focuses on the importance of kids being in school, echoing an ongoing emphasis in the school district.
"We have a truancy issue. We have an absenteeism issue," Webb said. "Hopefully his message will add to the awareness that we have a concern about our truancy."
Jackson and his Best Man Company work to raise the academic and social achievement of students of all ages. Jackson, who specializes in at-risk student achievement and criminal behavior prevention, has visited and trained staff in more than 1,000 schools nationwide.
The author of 50 books has a goal "to equip one million educators with the necessary social and emotional life skills required to teach and meet the growing needs of today's students," according to bestmancompany.com.
Quincy Public Schools will be providing free bus transportation to the parent night event at Quincy University's Hall of Fame Room.
Two buses will make four stops to get parents to the program, then return them home after the event.
Bus stops and times are:
5:15 p.m. – Ninth and Payson.
5:20 p.m. – Sixth and Harrison.
5:25 p.m. – Sixth and Washington.
5:30 p.m. – Fourth and Maiden Lane.
5:15 p.m. – Fifth and Lind.
5:20 p.m. – Sixth and Elm.
5:25 p.m. – Fifth and College.
5:30 p.m. – Fifth and Cedar.