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Nationally honored Colorado mom shares the secrets of parenting

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The task of naming one couple out of thousands of wonderful role models as “Colorado Parents of the Year” might seem impossible.

But speak with Jenny Davenport as she prepares for a fundraising event at the Davenport Center in Aurora, and you’ll quickly learn why she and her husband, James, were chosen.

“Oh, look how great that looks,” she says, speaking to her teenage daughter, who is busy practicing her face-painting skills for the event.

“She’s just so artistic,” she says under her breath, before going on to talk about the honor.

The Davenports, who earned the award from the Colorado Parents’ Day Council, were among five couples nationwide who received a national-level parenting award from the council.

The couple, both 44, have seven children, ranging in age from 4 to 16.

“Six girls and one boy,” says Jenny with a laugh.

The two run the nonprofit Davenport Center in Aurora ( The center provides such services as parenting classes, a diaper bank, foreign-language classes and an international preschool play group.

We asked Jenny for some parenting advice.

Q: Can you tell us your No. 1 parenting secret?

A: There’s no great secret. Everyone says you have to have a whole lot of patience, but in truth, you actually develop patience. You fall in love with each and every one of your children, and you learn how to relate to them.

Q: Why did you develop the Davenport Center?

A: We’d been hearing all about the cuts in budget. I was an educator, and decided to work with other great teachers. We’re dedicated to supporting parents of all backgrounds in times of need, and to serving the academic and cultural needs of all at-risk children. Funding is tight now. We’re praying we’ll get grants.

Q: What’s one of the goals of the center?

A: To take stress away from parents so they can focus on their kids. If someone comes through our doors and we can’t help them, we refer them out. The center is open to anyone for academics. No matter what country a child comes from, we want them to feel confident in our classrooms, and confident in themselves.

Q: As an educator and a parent, what advice can you offer?

A: Parental involvement is key to be sure that children will feel safe in the classroom. These days, nobody is talking to each other. Administrators don’t know what teachers are doing. Parents don’t know what teachers are doing. We offer a school-smart parents workshop, which gives parents tools to teach them how to talk to teachers, and how to advocate for their children.

Q: You have seven children, and you both work. How do you hold it all together?

A: Everyone has to pitch in. That’s how children learn to be responsible. Being responsible makes them feel good. And my husband and I complement each other. When one of us gets tired, the other kicks in. We’ve been together 17 years and it’s an honor that we’re looked at as a team. We love each other, we advocate for our kids, and we love our kids. People have helped us through our life, and we want to do the same for others.

Q: What’s the toughest part of parenting?

A: Kids have things they just have to go through, and sometimes it isn’t easy to cope. Often, the answer is just to say “No.” I talk to them about why they shouldn’t do things, and how it makes me feel when they make the wrong move.

Q: What would you say to parents holding their first newborn?

A: You get all those baby books. So, go ahead and read them. Then follow your heart. Follow the lessons your parents taught you, whether they’re positive lessons to follow, or negative ones to ignore. Look at that baby’s face, take a deep breath and say a prayer. If you make a mistake down the road, put it behind you. Put your children first, and you won’t go wrong.

-By Maria Cote

Guest Blogger
Author: Guest Blogger

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