|Another field trip was in order for today. Our school district would be going through the roof if we had this many field trips. This might be a reason why children have lost interest in learning. No fun creative ways to present the material to them. I am sure glad I'm an ACCD student and not a Public School one. I am having so much fun learning about different organizations that provide assistance to our community.
Our van headed south of San Antonio College into the west side of town to one of the AVANCE, locations at 1103 S San Jacinto.
We were greeted by Marisa Chapa who is the Parent Educator and Center Director,who has been with AVANCE for 20 years. You could tell by her warm smile that this was going to be a "warm fuzzy" kind of tour.
AVANCE provides support and education services to low-income families, AVANCE strengthens the families unit, enhances parenting skills which nurture the optimal development of children, promotes educational success and fosters the personal and economic success of parents.
We learned that AVANCE has a strong belief in that parents are the first teachers of their children. Their goal is to break the cycle of poverty and by providing parents opportunities to learn how to be parents they are making major break troughs here in San Antonio
The center we visited was the named after a board member that was killed in a car accident on June 30, 1997 coming from Laredo to San Antonio, Carmen Prieto Cortez.
The non profit organization has different sites around San Antonio. I was surprised to find out that there was one on my southside. The Raul Jimenez Center is located at 114 W. Vestal and I am putting it on my to go and visit list. I think this is a great organization for some of my connections to get involved in.
Yessinia Gonzales, Program Manager for the westside site said it best when she said that AVANCE is the "hidden secret" as she spoke about why there was not a waiting list. As well as how they go door to door to try and help the families that need assistance.
I hope to let that secret out in my area. I am already making plans of what sort of donations we can do and how we can help that location.
Parents go through a nine month program. The program consists of teaching parents how to play with their children, how to use resources in their house t create learning items for the children, and lessons on child development. Guest speakers are brought in to also educate parents on issues at hand.
The center assisted more than 250 people this past session and had 92 parents cross the stage with 148 children.
You could tell by listening to each of the staff members that they were very proud of their little stars or "Estrellitas". Each beamed as they spoke about AVANCE and all the opportunities it offered to families.
Sarah Longoria, a teacher in the young toddler area is an AVANCE graduate. She is now perusing a degree with San Antonio College. In fact I was impressed to find out that all their staff there were attending college.
In 32 years AVANCE has made changes in parents lives that thought there was no hope for them. Mothers and now fathers that go through their program find confidence in themselves and belief that they can make it.