Our Founder & Story

AVANCE was founded by a Gloria Rodriguez, a schoolteacher in San Antonio, in 1973.  Concerned by the school dropout rates and low educational attainment of Latino children, Gloria went knocking door to door in Mirabel, one of the city’s most impoverished Section 8 housing complexes, asking parents, “Do you love your children?” The response was overwhelming.  These parents were the first participants in the Parent-Child Education Program, and with them she started AVANCE.

AVANCE soon grew Statewide, and services were introduced to Austin in 1997. After almost 15 years of service, AVANCE-Austin remains integral to the fabric of our community, serving low-income, predominately Spanish speaking families who are largely disconnected from the web of resources and support programs offered within the city.

AVANCE’s success is due largely to the agency’s bilingual, culturally competent staff – many past participants themselves – whose dedication to the community are the cornerstones of AVANCE. The first paid staff member in San Antonio was a former AVANCE participant, and the core philosophy of integrating participants into the staff remains strong within all chapters of the agency.


Founder Gloria Rodriguez and AVANCE child