About Us

Improving Family Communication

Parents Forum is a non-profit, community-based organization that provides workshops focusing on emotional awareness. We help individuals and agencies develop strong support networks and helpful resources for parents and other caregivers.

Parents Forum was founded on the principles that raising children connects all families, regardless of background or social status, and that all families can be strengthened by improving communication and increasing emotional awareness.

Parents Forum accomplishes these goals by:

  • Modeling and teaching effective communication skills to parents through workshops and the program handbook Where the Heart Listens
  • Partnering with community organizations to provide the Parents Forum curriculum to its constituents
  • Offering opportunities for individuals to get advice, support and information through parent support groups.

Our Mission

Our mission is to foster honest, respectful and caring communications in families.  Parents Forum has developed creative, practical solutions to the challenges of contemporary parenting: Parents Forum can be a valuable resource for you and can help you make a positive difference in the lives of others in your community. We look forward to hearing from you!

Our Board

Eve Sullivan, Co-Founder and President

Eve, the mother of three grown sons and four grandchildren, lives in Cambridge, Mass., and retired from MIT in 2012 after many years as a senior editorial assistant. She trained as a language teacher and, in 1991, founded Parents Forum as a way to ‘pay forward’ the help she received in raising her own children. She is active on behalf of Parents Forum in the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, the Cambridge Zero-to-Eight Council, the UN Committee on Mental Health and the UN Committee on the Family both in New York. She serves on the leadership and advocacy committee of the (U.S.) National Parenting Education Network / NPEN and on the board of the International Federation for Parent Education based in Paris.

Eve Sullivan is the author of the program handbook Where the Heart Listens. It is her vision of a community of parents and others who care about children and families that created Parents Forum.


Kheireddine Bekkai

Mr. Kheireddine Bekkai holds a master’s degree in teaching French as a Foreign Language from the Sorbonne and two BA’s, one in Applied Foreign Languages with a focus on Arabic, French and German, and the other in Translation and Interpretation in Arabic, French and German.  He has studied journalism at the French Institute of Journalism in Paris and has worked for Radio France Maghreb and Radio France international (RFI). He has written for a monthly publication supporting democracy in Algeria and worked for the French broadcast media authority (CSA) on a project to measure the visibility of minorities in French television.

Since coming to the US in 2000, Mr. Bekkai has taught French and Arabic language, translation, literature and culture and is currently an instructor at Boston University. He is involved with several nonprofits including Parents Forum and has participated in various interfaith outreach committees. Mr. Bekkai also volunteers with a French heritage language and culture program and serves as president of the New England chapter of a French expatriate organization. Mr. Bekkai’s interests include media studies, journalism, and international relations, particularly as these pertain to the dialogue between Western societies and the Arab world.

Mr. Bekkai joined the Parents Forum board in 2017 and has co-led workshops in the Boston area. He is also working with Parents Forum partners in North Africa because he sees the universal applicability of Parents Forum and the need for it as a support for positive family experiences in Muslim communities.

Roberta Pizzinato

Roberta Pizzinato, a long-time friend and supporter of Parents Forum, serves as our treasurer. She works at MIT and, as a busy mother of two, knows first-hand both the joys and challenges of life with school-age children. She hopes to see Parents Forum grow to reach and serve parents around the globe.

Lee Ellen Aven

With a lifelong fascination for what makes people tick, Lee Aven has been a people watcher forever. As a daughter, mother, grandmother, sister and friend, and as a registered nurse working in early intervention and a nutritionist at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, Lee is continually observing the magical positive effects that personal validation has on everyone.

She is the author of the book Love Me This Way, an illustrated primer on unconditional love that explores positive attachment from a child’s perspective. Lee is passionate about the need for parenting education and delighted to have discovered Parents Forum as a channel for her commitment to individual and community well-being.



Inas Alawam, born in Syria, spent ten years in Saudi Arabia among expatriates from many Arab countries. Now, in 2019, she works as a financial planner with Ameriprise Financial Services Inc.
Her experience in Saudi Arabia, along with having a Lebanese grandmother, helped her understand other Arab countries and respect all Arab cultures. Inas came to the US in 2006 to further her education; she received an undergraduate degree in Marketing and Decision Science from Salem State University and a master’s degree in International Economics and Finance from Brandeis University. Her charity work has included helping Iraqi refugees get medical care and adapt to American culture. She has studied, worked and volunteered, doing so while a single mother raising her daughter, with the encouragement and support of her own mother. 

With a focus on building awareness and educating women to realize their potential, Inas entered the Miss Arab USA competition and was awarded the 2018 title. During her reign she served as an ambassador of humanity and goodwill.

Athena, Xiangling Wang

Athena Wang joined the Parents Forum board in summer 2016. Believing that she has ‘the best parents in the world’ and appreciating their consistent encouragement and support, she wants children everywhere to have the same. Her professional background includes ten years work experience in manufacturing and program management in China and Czech Republic. She wants to use the skills she acquired in her marketing masters program at Hult International Business School, along with her language skills, energy and passion to engage resources and develop social-emotional learning programs to reach parents and benefit children around the world.



Our Advisors

Luke Sullivan

Luke is a senior system administrator for the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Science. His work focuses on system virtualization and identity management. Luke provides guidance to Parents Forum on technology needs.

Dr. William Sharp

William Sharp was a high school social studies teacher who became interested in why some students learn and some did not. This interest in the individual’s mind brought him to the study of psychoanalysis. He currently has a private practice in Brookline village for adult, children, and groups.

In addition to teaching at BGSP, he teaches at Northeastern University and Wheelock College where he encourages psychoanalytic research and thinking. Dr Sharp consults with schools and teachers in the Boston area helping them reach children that are often hard to reach due to emotional blocks to learning.

His interests also include writing and movie discussions. He has led talks at BGSP on how film reflects human drives in such movies as: Lars and The Real Girl, Brokeback Mountain, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Warm Bodies.

Belén Mesurado

Belén Mesurado, Member of the Philosophy Institute and Professor of Universidad Austral. Associate researcher at National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET).

She obtained a degree in Psychology (2003) and a Ph.D. in Psychology (2010) at Universidad Nacional de San Luis in Argentina. Her interest area is Positive Psychology and prosocial behaviour. She has obtained National Doctorate and Post-doctoral Scholarships from CONICET, as well as Scholarships from international organizations such as the Fundación Carolina, the Society for Research on Adolescence, the Society for Research in Child Development and the International Union of Psychological Science. She has published 30 articles, 16 book chapters about different topics of Positive Psychology.

Past Board Members

Chris Bates, Co-Founder and Board Treasurer

Chris is the mother of a son and a daughter, both grown, and the happy grandmother of two wonderful boys. She lives in Nahant and rejoined the board in December 2012. Her practical skills and efforts helped make the Parents Forum dream a reality.

Rachael Thames (M.S.Ed.)

Rachael holds a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Wheelock College. In addition to her work with Parents Forum, she chairs the Advocacy and Community Service committee on the Wheelock College Alumni Board. Coming from a biracial family and working extensively with children, Rachael brings both personal and professional experience to the board.

Gratitude List


Thanks to Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation for awarding us a community grant in 2016 to help us further our mission.


We are grateful to One Visual Mind for donating time to develop our new website.