Throughout her tenure in public service, Naranjo has strived to ensure justice for underserved communities. “Moms who have gone through the AVANCE program are successful because they’ve dreamed bigger and better things for their children. They have made a commitment to take their children down the path of success,” Judge Naranjo expressed during her event speech.
At the luncheon attendees heard firsthand from Angelica Mendez, 2011 AVANCE Parent Graduate, and celebrated AVANCE’s comprehensive family support services. Mendez, reflected on AVANCE’s impact at the luncheon, “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.”
AVANCE’s free Parent-Child Education Program (PCEP) is a weekly three-hour parenting and early childhood education class where parents learn the importance of their role as their child’s first and most important teacher. The AVANCE PCEP also offers transportation, meals, advocacy, and home visits, making it one of the most comprehensive bilingual family intervention models in the nation. AVANCE-Austin augments the PCEP with an additional hour of ESL instruction prior to starting the traditional three-hour parenting class.
During the 2011-2012 program year, AVANCE-Austin administered the PCEP to 100 parents and 114 children, at three sites located in the Austin Independent School District and one community center. Upon graduation, 96% of parent participants were reading to their children at least three times a week, 81% demonstrated increased knowledge of child development and parenting and 96% reported planning to continue their own education by pursuing advanced ESL, GED, and college classes.
Richard J. Noriega, AVANCE’s National President and CEO, praised AVANCE-Austin’
Under the direction of Casini, AVANCE-Austin is set to serve even more families and expand the program throughout Travis County. Casini explains, “Programs like AVANCE exist because of individuals, foundations, small businesses and corporations who understand that if you want to have strong community growth you have to invest. I want to thank all our supporters for their incredible support because it makes a major difference!”