The tour offered guests a personal look at what AVANCE is doing to unlock America’s potential through parent and early childhood education of high-need, low-income families. During their trip, Dallas County Judge, Clay L. Jenkins also hosted a dinner for AVANCE honoring the M.B. & Edna Zale Foundation, one of the original supporters of AVANCE. “AVANCE has certainly gone much farther than we deserve credit for. It’s doing its own thing and doing it very well.” Donald Zale, Director and Chairman Emeritus of the M.B. & Edna Zale Foundation, told guests during the tour.
“It was interesting and amazing to see how the program bridges the gap between parents and children. There are a lot of programs only for children, but to have the parent’s actively involved and knowing what is going on in their children’s lives is really the differentiating factor with AVANCE,” commented Regina James-Dorsey, Assistant Director of Career Services at Southern Methodist University.
The original AVANCE pilot program, the Mother-Infant Program, conceptualized by Cornell University graduate students of Dr. Urie Bronfenbrenner evolved into what is now known as the AVANCE PCEP. The nine-month free program consists of weekly three hour classes that span the school calendar from September to May. The program provides early childhood education for the children while parents attend classes to learn how to become their child’s first and most important teacher. The AVANCE PCEP also offers home visits, transportation, advocacy and meals making it one of the most comprehensive bilingual family intervention models in the nation.
AVANCE President Richard J. Noriega reflected on the trip stating, “It is always a pleasure to visit our sites, meet with the families and interact with our dedicated educators. Our goal is to continue to make a lasting impact in the communities we serve. Eventually, we would like to expand AVANCE-Dallas to serve families in Fort Worth ISD. We are witnessing positive results with AVANCE-Dallas child graduates out-performing their peers in critical subject areas upon completing the AVANCE program.”
With support from foundations, grants, corporate and individual donors, AVANCE provides services at over 150 sites across 11 states. AVANCE will continue to expand in the coming year via their Unlocking America’s Potential Project.