SANFORD — Showing parents how they can be leaders and advocates for children ”“ in the form of Sanford Community Parent Leadership Training Institute ”“ began here in 2012.

Sanford is the first Maine community to adopt the parent leadership training model, and that accomplishment will be marked Friday when the founder of program makes a two-day visit.

Elaine Zimmerman, founder of PLTI and executive director of the Connecticut Commission on Children, and Patti Keckeisen, National PLTI team member and consultant, will host an awards ceremony and news conference Friday, recognizing Sanford’s 2013 graduation of its first PLTI group.

Following the 3 p.m. news conference, at 5 p.m., Zimmerman will lead a civics workshop at The Town Club, in the Trust building at the corner of Main and Washington streets, where folks are invited to join in a discussion about how they believe all Sanford leaders and parents deserve to be equal partners in decision-making in all matters related to children and families, according to PLTI site coordinator Kristen Wiegand.

“If you have the desire to help children, be an advocate for them, or use your voice in decision-making, then this will be an event not to miss,” said Wiegand.

On Saturday, Sanford Community PLTI is scheduled to be at the farmers market downtown in Central Park from 9-11 a.m. to talk about the program, which concludes with a question and answer session. The rain location is Sanford City Hall council chambers.

Sanford Community PLTI is accepting applications for participants for the next group, to begin in October. There is still room and applications will be available throughout the weekend of events. The first 10 weeks of the program are designed to create a community of parent leaders; the next 10 weeks include civics and local government, tailored to the city. Each participant completes a community project over the course of the sessions, and many continue to work on it following graduation, Wiegand said.

She said parents can attend worry and task-free: Dinners are provided for the entire family before each session, child care is provided, and transportation, if needed, can also be provided ”“ at no cost to participants. Classes are held on Wednesday evenings.

For more information, email Wiegand at [email protected] or go to

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