The Three Phases: Parent Training 

Family Focused Organizing develops leaders and builds organizations. In partnerships and in independent projects, COFI provides comprehensive training and organizing support to develop parent leaders and helps them build organizations to take action on the issues that affect their families. COFI’s approach builds leaders over time and is rooted in real-world organizing that the parents themselves define.



Phase One: Self, Family & Team

Self, Family & Team

Family Focused Organizing begins with the individual. Parents assess their needs, establish goals and begin to work toward achieving those goals. In the Self, Family & Team phase of the Family Focused Organizing model, parents attend an orientation session and six two-hour workshops.
The curriculum covers:

  • Personal visioning
  • Self-assessment and goal setting
  • Building a web of support
  • Overcoming obstacles and developing an action plan
  • Family goal setting
  • Team goal setting

Team Building

Coming together around a common goal is necessary in any situation where people wish to make change. After enabling parents to become leaders and set goals for themselves, COFI teaches leaders Team Building. The team building process can take between 10 weeks and several months, and includes:

  • Defining team purpose
  • Creating ground rules and team rituals
  • Establishing a meeting format
  • Planning action
  • Implementing campaign or project plans
  • Holding one another accountable
  • Resolving conflict
  • Evaluating the work
  • Winning victories and celebrating accomplishments



Phase Two: Community Outreach & Action

In the next phase of the Family Focused Organizing model, Community Outreach & Action, COFI teaches teams to reach out and build partnerships with parents and other community residents, community associations and organizations, businesses, schools and other institutions. Emerging parent leaders conduct a door-to-door community assessment, bringing new parents and partners into the planning and community action process. The teams launch community action campaigns, and succeed in making change at the community level.

The Community Outreach & Action curriculum includes:

  • Community visioning
  • Self-interest and motivation
  • Relationship-building one-on-ones
  • Choosing an Issue
  • Building partnerships
  • Outreach and recruitment

Phase Three: Systems & Policy Change Organizing

COFI’s policy and systems change work builds off of the incremental steps during Phase One and Phase Two, as parents build strong and trust-filled relationships across communities and with professional allies both inside and outside the system. It is aimed at creating a tight cross-cultural community of parents that work together to create policy and systems change. In Phase Three, parents also create the organizational structure needed to sustain their ongoing development of new leaders and campaign organizing work.

The Policy and Systems Change curriculum includes:

  • What is Policy and Systems Change and How Government Works
  • How Parents Can Impact Change
  • What It Means to Be a Family Focused Leader
  • Working Cross-Culturally
  • Choosing Issues that Broadly Impact Children and Families
  • Research Through Relationships and Outreach to Identify Solutions
  • Telling Your Story
  • Building Allies, Champions and Strategic Partnerships
  • Working with Public Officials and Negotiation
  • Speaking with the Media and Fundraising Skills
  • Why and How to Build the Organizational or Network Structure