AVANCE, Inc. CEO Rick Noriega, AVANCE-Austin Executive Director Sofia Casini and AVANCE participants at the Capitol
Child abuse, poverty, unemployment — these are some of society’s costliest problems that have roots in the earliest years of a child’s development. Quality early childhood education programs, including voluntary monthly home visits, help at-risk families get the right start. AVANCE offers monthly, one-on-one home visits to families as a part of our holistic approach to promoting school-readiness in underserved communities On March 15th, AVANCE graduates joined AVANCE, Inc. CEO, Rick Noriega, and Executive Director, Sofia Casini, for Home Visiting Advocacy Day at the Texas State Capitol.
Sponsored by the Texas Association for the Protection of Children, the day was to garner support among legislators for Senate Bill 426. The bill would provide funding to increase the number of families served by programs that offer home visits. AVANCE participant mothers and their children went door to door at Capitol offices to share their stories with decision makers. Home visits reinforce the skills parents and children gain in the AVANCE classroom, promote a safe home environment, and help identify any delays in the child’s development so that referrals to partner non-profit agencies can be made.
Currently, home visiting only serves 9% of the highest need families in Texas, which experts say is actually costing the state a lot more in the long run through emergency room visits, social welfare programs, and juvenile corrections systems. The Rand Corporation estimates a return of $5.70 for every dollar invested in quality home visiting programs. Let your Representative know that you support Senate Bill 426 to help AVANCE families.
AVANCE’s dual-generation approach to early childhood education makes it one of the most comprehensive and effective early childhood programs in the country. Each week mothers attend classes to learn how to become better parents, while their children attend to help prepare them to succeed in kindergarten and beyond.
Rubisela poses with her two children, Ruby (3.5 years) and Alondra (3 months) during a home visit. Mother and both children were participants in AVANCE'S class of 2011.
After impacting families across Texas for almost forty years, AVANCE has been named one of the top-performing nonprofit organizations in the United States on a newly launched online giving platform. The Social Impact 100 (S&I 100) (www.SI100.org) is the first-ever broad index of U.S. nonprofits that have evidence of results and the potential to grow. The Index helps nonprofits find the capital they need to reach more people and empowers donors to make a bigger difference. Out of over 100 organizations,AVANCE is the only early education-focused nonprofit headquartered in Texas to be featured in the S&I 100, and is helping to place Texas at the forefront of discussions surrounding the importance of early education.
Each year the AVANCE national headquarters in San Antonio sets certain benchmarks that AVANCE programs throughout the country must meet. We are very excited to report that AVANCE-Austin, not only met, but exceeded all of our yearly objectives for 2011-2012: To promote literacy, increase parenting skills, and instill the importance of education in the families we serve. The method for measuring our success over the course of the year was a survey filled out by the participants before and after their experience in the 9- month program. Their responses to questions such as, “How many times do you read to your child each week?” along with an evaluation of their parenting skills demonstrates that these mothers are preparing their children for both success in school and in life. Bien hecho!
To view the full report and demographic data on our participants:
(Left to right) Telemundo anchor Karla Leal, Judge Orlinda Naranjo, and supporter Janis Pinelli
Friends and supporters of AVANCE-Austin gathered at the Driskill Hotel on October 17thfor the 5th Annual Fundraising Luncheon. This year’s event was one of the most successful to date, bringing in over $40,000 in donations to support the important work of the Parent-Child Education Program (PCEP).
Judge Orlinda Naranjo, the first Latina elected to countywide bench in Austin was honored at the Luncheon for her years of public service and commitment to justice for the underserved. She shared her inspiring life story with attendees and applauded mothers in the AVANCE program for taking the first step to give their child a brighter future:
“Moms who have gone through the AVANCE program are successful because they’ve dreamed bigger and better things for their children,” Naranjo said, ”They have made a commitment to take their children down the path of success.”
Angelica Mendez, AVANCE-Austin parent graduate shows luncheon guests the doll she made for her daughter in the program.
Judge Naranjo was born into a working-class, Spanish-speaking household in New Mexico. Her mother was a maid and school cook, while her father operated heavy equipment. As a young woman, Judge Naranjo was able to pay her own way through college despite obstacles such as the death of her father when she was just fifteen, and becoming a mother at seventeen. In 2012, Judge Naranjo was appointed to The National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the courts, served for six years on the Texas Indigent Defense Task Force, and currently serves on the Texas Judicial Council, working to improve the Texas legal System.
Luncheon guests also heard firsthand about the impact of the AVANCE-Austin program from parent graduate Angelica Mendez. Angelica credits AVANCE-Austin’s Parent-Child Education program with making her a better mother: “I learned how to be a better parent, to make toys and play with my daughter. After AVANCE, my daughter was ready for Pre-K. Her teachers trust her to do errands and she knows all her colors, numbers and letters. I am very proud of her.”
Capital Metro has awarded AVANCE $20,000 from their Basic Transportation Needs Fund. Many of the mothers whom we serve through our parenting programs live in areas where public transportation is difficult to access, and many of them do not own a vehicle. This gift will help remove one of the major barriers to participation in our classes by providing these families with weekly transportation. Gracias, Capital Metro for helping us offer even more deserving families access to our programs!
Impact Austin selected AVANCE-Austin to receive $100,000 grant! Impact Austin is an extraordinary group of women who combine annual donations from members and give multiple grants of more than $100,000 to local, worthy causes selected by their members. This year out of hundreds of applicants Impact Austin chose AVANCE and 9 other organization as finalist to give a 5 min presentation at their annual meeting. This grant will enable AVANCE-Austin to expand their parent-child education services to Del Valle, an underserved community with the highest child poverty rate in Travis County. More than 85% of children in Del Valle public schools are low-income. To date, there is no formal parenting program operating yet within the Del Valle School District. The need for intensive child services to get these children school ready is great, as is the need for parental involvement. You all have made it possible to change the lives of so many children and their families. Gracias desde el fundo de nuestros corazones!
Executive Director Sofia Casini and Catherine Morse, General Counsel and Director of Public Affairs at Samsung.
We are appreciative that with Samsung and United Way funding AVANCE will be able to expand our current services in Dove Springs and St. John’s. These are low-income, majority Latino neighborhoods AVANCE has been serving in collaboration with other community partners such as the St. Johns and Dove Springs Community School Alliances, and they are now receiving public attention for their high level of need.
AVANCE board member Rebecca Leal with graduating mom.
We would like to thank our many supporters for such a successful year. With your help AVANCE was able to expand to new neighborhoods, serve over 200 parents and children, and increase our graduation rates. This year we saw the highest number of moms graduate than in the the last five years!
Austin, Tx (April 2012) This month AVANCE-Austin has partnered with I Live Here I Give Here. All April long this local non-profit will be shinning a spotlight on the importance of early childhood education and the Austin organizations that are making great leaps and strides in ensuring all children are school ready when they enter their classrooms for the first time. Check out our splash page on their site, under Child and Youth Services, and support us by donating and spreading the word.
Austin, Tx (April 2012) In the State of the City, Austin’s Mayor recognizes the importance of AVANCE’s work in the community and our successful early childhood and parent education program for low-income residents.