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Supermom empowers parents of teenagers

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Project Guild of La Grange selects Crestwood mother of five as Oldham County Day’s grand marshal

One mother is setting the stage for a national campaign to help parents raise incredible teenagers.
The Project Guild of La Grange selected Jean Schumm as grand marshal of the Oldham County Day Parade. Schumm is the founder and heartbeat of Operation: Parent.
Operation: Parent is a non-profit organization dedicated to parents and caregivers of teens and pre-teens.  Its mission is to educate, equip, encourage and engage parents of teenagers by providing up-to-date information about today’s teen culture.
“I’m truly a wee little part of this now,” Schumm said.  
Schumm originally started the organization because she understood firsthand the struggles of raising teenagers.  
“It came out of my personal experience of finding out what it takes to raise healthy kids in today’s culture,” she said.  
“I learned a lot with the first two,” Schumm added, about raising her five children.  
She worked as a volunteer at South Oldham High School and organized a group of parents to come together and discuss raising kids.
When former South Oldham Principal Barbara Fendley offered to let Schumm use a classroom it launched the organization.  
“Parents are really busy.  This kind of information needs to be available on a regular basis,” Schumm said.
Operation: Parent offers parents classes and resources with a practical approach to assist teenagers in making life decisions.  The organization’s parent handbook covers everything from technology and bullying to alcohol and divorce.   
South Oldham High School Principal Dorenda Neihof said Schumm had “a vision of being able to help parents raise incredible teenagers.”
 “We gave her a classroom for probably four years,” Neihof said, “She’s volunteered many, many hours.  She was here as much as the teachers were.”
“Parents are very complimentary of what they’ve learned,” Neihof added.  
“It’s been proven that the classes are definitely increasing parents’ confidence,” Schumm said, “It enables them to have intelligent conversations with teens and pre-teens.”
Neihof applauds the work Schumm has done in the community.  
“She’s very down to earth,” she said. “She truly cares about people.”
Neihof explained how school personnel and administrators can try to tell parents about the issues their children face but “when it’s a parent talking about those things it means a lot more.”
Schumm described how the classes create an even playing field with parents, saying “one of the biggest things is that it’s parent-driven.”
Operation: Parent has grown from a single room at South Oldham High School to offering classes in 25 schools and training more than 60 parents as
facilitators.  
“This thing has been like a snowball,” she said, “people have stepped in with a resource or an idea.”     
“What surprised me was the amount of support from Oldham County,” Schumm said.  
The community has provided both financial and personnel resources to her cause, and she is tremendously grateful.    
“It’s a dream come true to watch it grow,” Schumm said.  
The newest endeavor for Operation: Parent is offering “Recess,” a version of their Parenting 101 course during lunch breaks for parents who work.  
So far they’ve implemented “Recess” at Fastline and Tri-County Ford.  Schumm’s ultimate goal is to go national.  
“I’ve got to believe it’s going to go,” she said.
The Project Guild will host a luncheon in Schumm’s honor at 12 p.m. July 12 at the John W. Black Community Center, 1551 N. Ky. 393, La Grange.
The grand marshal luncheon is an annual event that sells out quickly. Tickets are $12. For tickets, call Paige Weeks at 222-0437.

E-mail us about this story at: mtaylor@oldhamera.com.