LatinaLista — Today's Spotlight on a non-profit serving the Latino community is Avance.
Since 1973, AVANCE has helped parents prepare their children for school by focusing on what parents can do during the critical first three years of their child's life.
AVANCE primarily serves Hispanic families in low-income, at-risk communities. It has grown into over 90 program sites in ten chapters across Texas. It is expanding the model into New Mexico and California.
The goal of AVANCE is to educate Latino parents on how to be supportive and effective parents, teach them about the stages of childhood development with classes in early childhood and promote and encourage that they read to their young children daily.
As documented by the Dallas chapter:
Parents who go through the program are reading to their children at least 3 times per week. Those who complete the Parenting Education Program show a significant increase in knowledge in child development and parenting skills and more of the parents spend more time volunteering at their children's schools each week.
Three- and four-year-olds who graduate from the program and who enter Pre-Kindergarten or Kindergarten rate average to above-average on school readiness (93 percent in 2003-2004).
Long-term evaluation of the Texas-wide AVANCE organization has shown that more than 94 percent of the children graduate high school and 43 percent go on to college.
Given the amount of mothers and young children AVANCE services, there is always a need for donations. Prospective donors can choose to either donate at the national level or from among the many local chapters in Texas, New Mexico or California.