positive attitude and passion
is organizer of the
organization Operation PARENT
Helen E. McKinney
LA GRANGE, Ky. (July 2011) The influence Jean
Schumm exerts over teenagers and parents is overwhelmingly supportive.
With her common sense techniques, she is a guiding force within the
community when it comes to communication and keeping families together.
from left (back row) are
Ryan, Amanda, Jean and Walt
Schumm, with (front row from left)
Kelly, Holly and Chris Schumm.
Schumms extraordinary efforts to keep teens and
parents connected have earned her the title of Grand Marshal for this
years Oldham County Day Parade. She aptly fits the 2011 theme:
Keeping Families on Track.
One of her major accomplishments is the organization of Operation: PARENT.
It seems like theres a perfect fit between the theme, Keeping
Families on Track, and our mission to educate, equip, encourage
and engage parents of teens and pre-teens, said Schumm, originally
She began Operation: PARENT in 2005 at South Oldham High School. The
organization creates on-going opportunities for parents to network
with one another and learn about teen culture in the process,
said Schumm, 53. The goal is to create a positive social environment
where the learning is fun, convenient and on-going for parents.
A mother of five children Ryan, Amanda, Kelly, Chris, and Holly
Schumm has always been highly involved with school activities.
After reading a book titled, A Tribe Apart, she realized
that most parents are disconnected in some fashion from their teenagers,
said Paul Upchurch, Superintendent of Oldham County Schools.
Upchurch said Schumm came to him for help and he assisted her in getting
the right agencies and people together and a classroom to use at South
Oldham High School. It was to be a special room for parents to
talk and get training, he said.
From there, Operation: PARENT was born. Its a really powerful
program for parents to help support them with issues their teens face,
said Upchurch. The program is so influential that he sees it becoming
a national movement.
Headquartered in Middletown, Operation: PARENT offers a unique parent-driven
model for parent education that can be duplicated in a variety of places
such as schools, churches and businesses. This model offers a Parent
Handbook, classes, events, resources and a website to aid parents.
When Schumm was in the midst of raising her five teens, there was no
real place to turn to get educated on todays teen culture and
network with other parents in the process, she said.
Through this non-profit program Schumm has had such
an impact on our schools, community and in Jefferson county and other
places as well, said Upchurch. Theres no question
that she is an excellent choice for grand marshal. Shes not one
to seek out recognition, but she deserves it.
Schumm will serve as grand marshal of the Oldham County Day Parade on
Saturday, July 16.
She will be honored with a noon luncheon the preceding Tuesday, July
12, at the John W. Black Center in Buckner.
She has dedicated herself 12 hours a day to Operation: PARENT
over the last five years, said husband, Walt Schumm. She
has a real passion for kids. Her experience has given her wisdom and
insight that she can pass on to other parents. She gives back relentlessly.
Walt, who is Vice Chairman of the Oldham County School Board, backs
his wifes organization 100 percent. The community has done
so much for us; its the least we can do to give something back.
Married for 31 years, Walt said one of his wifes best qualities
as a mother is her sense of humility. She has a willingness to serve
her own children and other families as well. Shes worked
tirelessly to raise our own kids. Shes patient, she listens and
hears what kids are saying.
Schumms future goals for Operation: PARENT include reaching
out to communities across the United States so no parent ever feels
isolated or alone while raising their teen, she said.
She hopes to create a parenting video, develop more classes and continue
to print and distribute a Parent Handbook (in multiple languages) throughout
the United States. The model we started in Oldham County can be
duplicated in other communities.
Two classes, Parenting 101 (focusing on teens and youths) and Parenting
201 (focusing on parents) are offered in 25 schools. Oftentimes, parents
facilitate these classes, she said.
A monthly seminar series, Wake Up & Smell the Coffee,
is also offered by Operation: PARENT. The series is comprised of presentations
and discussions led by professionals with experience and knowledge on
different topics such as the May topic: Drugs in Your School
serious is it?
From her humble beginnings at South Oldham High School, Schumm said
that one parent heard her vision and shared it with her father-in-law,
who in turn donated a 5,000-square-foot building in Middletown for Operation:
PARENTs headquarters. Having made technological updates on the
building, it is now ready to be used for seminars and classes.
Operation: PARENT has also started going into area businesses with its
Lunch and Learn series so working parents can take
the class while at work, on their lunch hour, said Schumm.
Anne Courtney Coorssen, General Council for the Oldham County Board
of Education, met Schumm in the summer of 2005, when Operation: PARENT
was in its infancy stage. Coorssen, who is on the board of directors
for Operation: PARENT, said, Jean is one of the most passionate,
caring and enthusiastic people I have ever worked with. When it comes
to Operation: PARENT, she is a visionary and purpose-driven leader.
Coorssen said Schumm positively impacts everyone she meets in
some way. No one compares in terms of sheer optimism and her belief
that anything can be accomplished if you set your mind to it. She has
already filled an important gap in parenting education and resources,
and shes just getting started.
Schumm believes it is important to reach out to teens and their parents
because these are the critical years that make or break families.
If teens and parents can stay connected during the middle and high school
years, chances are they will be family for life. Its all about
coming together as a community and helping each other when were
in the trenches and parenting through the tough issues.
Schumm said the most important thing she has taught her own children
is her faith in Jesus Christ. Her faith drives her, said
Walt. She feels she was called to do this.
To purchase tickets for the Oldham County
Day Parade Grand Marshal Luncheon, contact Teresa Kinney at (502) 222-2665
or Page Weeks at (502) 222-0437.
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