By Ronald Anderson, Content Manager, AVANCE
With its long history and diverse influences, San Antonio is an international hub with a rich culture unlike anywhere else. San Antonio is also the birthplace of AVANCE, where in 1973, one woman set out to improve the educational and economic opportunities of Latino families on San Antonio’s West Side.
Over the past 49 years, we have expanded into every corner of Texas and even into California. And although we have extended our reach, we remain true to our original purpose: providing high-quality, innovative education and support programming for Latino children and families. AVANCE pioneered the two-generation approach, which helps parents become the best teachers and stewards of their children’s growth by building on their inner strength and their innate love for their children.
Our two-generation approach is at the core of our Parent-Child Education Program (PCEP), which combines culturally relevant parenting education and community building with high-quality early childhood services to change the trajectory of families’ lives.
Foundational to our efforts to strengthen families, PCEP teaches parents that they are their child’s first and most important teachers and that the home is the first classroom. The impact of PCEP has been clear: the program increases parent knowledge, maintains positive parent-child interactions, and boosts confidence in families.
A longitudinal study found that PCEP improved the economic mobility of its participants 10 years after their participation, with increased full-time employment among participants and a 143% increase in homeownership. Another study conducted in 2019 found that children who participated in AVANCE were 12% more likely to pass their kindergarten readiness assessments than non-participants in the same demographic.
The PCEP curriculum builds on families’ strengths and supports their individual needs, putting equity into practice for parents and young children.
Alongside UnidosUS, we are committed to increasing the economic mobility of Latino families. Last year we decided to enhance our two-generation approach by partnering with workforce boards and community colleges in El Paso, Texas, to pilot a new model of PCEP called the 2Gen Ecosystem of Opportunity.
The 2Gen program combines PCEP with workforce training and postsecondary education to expand opportunities for Latino parents. We are proud to report that, of the 25 Latinas who participated in the program, 70% are now enrolled in continuing education courses and/or a workforce program! The number one predictor of a child’s success in school is their mother’s education level.
Our 2Gen program is improving the economic mobility of Latino families now and for generations to come. We will be recreating the 2Gen program in Austin, Texas, this fall and exploring opportunities to do the same in additional cities in Texas and beyond.
AVANCE’s success is not just a result of what we do but more of how we do it.
- We value and rely on proximate leaders and individuals who share the lived experiences of our participating families.
- We meet families where they are with door-to-door recruitment and programs in their communities.
- We recognize that our families are our key source of strength and knowledge, and we build on that fact to support them as they pursue their goals.
- We acknowledge that our families are facing disproportionate inequities in education, employment, and income, but more than that, we work every day to address the root causes of these inequities through our programs.
- We build trusting relationships with our families. And because of all this, families know that AVANCE is a safe space where parents’ voices are honored and where their resilience is celebrated.
We are excited to walk alongside UnidosUS as we work together to uplift Latino families and change the Latino narrative. This July, we are honored to share our city with the UnidosUS Annual Conference, and we look forward to the confluence of ideas and perspectives that result. Together we can address the important issues and create change for the families and communities that we collectively serve. ¡Adelante!