Summer Salutations to New Board Members!

Our new board members are ready to make futures so bright! L-R: Kyler Arnold, Yvonne Jauregui, and Thomas Mast.


We are pleased to welcome 3 new members to our Board of Directors!
Read on to learn more about our newest volunteer leaders.


Kyler Arnold, Texas House of Representatives

Q: How did you get involved with AVANCE?
A: My fiancé attended the AVANCE luncheon last year and afterwards told me about the work AVANCE does and suggested I look into it. I was immediately interested in getting involved. 

Q: What is your favorite thing about AVANCE?
A: The early intervention aspect – so much progress and growth can happen for both kids and their parents if you start early. 

Q: What was your favorite toy when you were growing up?
A: I loved Playmobile – they were little toy people and I loved creating an imaginary community with them. 


Yvonne Jauregui, Wells Fargo Bank

Q: How did you get involved with AVANCE?
A: I got involved through my volunteer site with Wells Fargo. One of my development plan goals was to increase my visibility in the community by serving on a board or committee of some sort. I initially started on the Luncheon Committee and have enjoyed getting involved with an organization close to my values.

Q: What is your favorite thing about AVANCE?
A: My favorite thing about AVANCE would be the witnessing the impact the organization has on the community.

Q: What was your favorite toy when you were growing up?
A: My favorite toy growing up was my bike. I loved to be outdoors. My parents had to call me in because I would stay out riding as long as could.


Thomas Mast, Community Volunteer

Q: How did you get involved with AVANCE?
A: A friend, Balie Griffith, had spoken glowingly to me about Avance, but the real trigger was my attending the annual luncheon at the invitation of another friend, “Crutch” Crutchfield.  The luncheon’s program is very powerful.  I then went to Avance to tour the classes.

Q: What is your favorite thing about AVANCE?
A: The two-generation focus and its impact on the families involved seems to me to be the real value of Avance.

Q: What was your favorite toy when you were growing up?
A: It was clearly my electric train.  I wore it out.  I still have it.  How could I have become anything other than an engineer?


View our full AVANCE-Austin Board of Directors list here.
Interested in board service? Contact Marie Felan, Executive Director.

Summer Fun at AVANCE!

“A-B-C, 1-2-3 Reading is Fun for Me”

Our Summer Nutrition & Literacy program was a spectacular success! A total of 68 children and 55 parents learned new healthy messages and literacy concepts over 5 weeks using educational curriculum from the H-E-B Read 3 program. The program also brought other highlights, such as a family field trip to our neighborhood H-E-B Plus! store for a scavenger hunt, nutritional cooking demonstrations, and new books for the families to take home each week with the pledge to read at least 3 times during the week! Learn more about our other programs.
Nutritional Recipes
Each week, friends from our local H-E-B on Riverside Drive, Gloria and Alex, stopped by to teach our moms how to prepare the treats they love in a healthier way, using wholesome ingredients.
Download more H-E-B Read 3 recipes like this nutritious take on Aguas Frescas with Frozen Berries.
Recipes include:
  •  Apple Turkey Wraps
  •  Easy Trail Mix
  •  Melon y Calabacito Pico de Gallo
  •  Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Learning About Nutrition Using All 5 Senses!

Families actively engaged while listening to Ms. Carolina reading a book, “Growing Vegetable Soup,” about how seeds are planted and grown into the vegetables we use every day in our meals. Then the children explored the textures of different vegetables and compared colors, sizes, and shapes. Everyone then enjoyed a deliciously homemade vegetable soup with an amazing  aroma that filled the entire room! At the end of the day, families were able to take home recipes to recreate the nutritious yet delicious meal.


Highlights of Mom Speakers from the 2018 Graduation!

On May 30, we honored the accomplishments, courage, and strength of 257 parents and children who completed AVANCE’s signature Parent-Child Education Program. For nine months, these dedicated families committed to a weekly parenting and early childhood education program. Ours was the first of many graduation ceremonies for these families who, by completing the program, prepared their young children to succeed in school and increase their own skills and potential. These children will go on to achieve great things because they have the support of their first and most important teachers: their parents. This was the largest graduating class yet, and with your continued partnership, we will graduate yet another successful class of AVANCE-Austin graduates in 2019. Together we dream, and we rise.

View Photos from Graduation!

The speeches from the graduating mothers were a highlight of the ceremonies. Each ceremony spotlighted mothers who had been selected by their classmates to represent the class and voice their own personal journey in the program. Felicidades to the AVANCE-Austin Class of 2018!

Alma De Leon Guia
Speaker Representing Mamas Soñadoras

Alma De Leon Guia was chosen to speak on behalf of Monday’s group of moms (Mamas Soñadoras) and proudly exclaimed that “AVANCE has been part of the transformation of our lives with the experiences acquired, the enriching education for our children, and above all, the communication between parents and children regardless of age.”




Jessica Antonio
Speaker Representing Star Moms

Tuesday’s group of moms (Star Moms) chose Jessica Antonio to speak for them. She boldly stated, “We have achieved positive changes in ourselves and see results in our children since the program provided us with educational tools that we can implement in our daily routine with fun activities, developing language, encouraging reading habits, positive values, ​​and safety in the home.” Jessica has already applied to Cosmetology school and we know she has a bright future ahead.


Brenda Jimenez
Speaker Representing Super Latinas Mamas

“For most of us, AVANCE was a great opportunity to learn and acquire new skills as families … For example, we learned the importance of creating good foundations in our children from birth and strengthen them in the first 5 years of life, so that they in the long term, they can become adults with positive values,” explained Brenda Jimenez, chosen speaker from Wednesday’s group of moms (Super Latinas Mamas). Originally from Mexico, Brenda works hard to provide a good life for her family. She is a natural leader and has many job titles, including mom, with many more dreams to fulfill. We know she will go on to do great things!


Maria L. Mendez
Speaker Representing Wonder Moms

Maria Leticia Mendez, mother to Stephanie, was chosen to speak on behalf of Thursday’s group of moms (Wonder Moms). She shared, “In AVANCE, our children took the first step to feel comfortable in a classroom and better understand the world around them. Likewise, we [mothers] increased our personal development and the skills to promote positive actions in our families and our community. Now we feel confident to continue educating our children and support them to reach a better and promising future.”


Nancy Mercado
Speaker Representing Mujeres Guerreras

Friday’s group of moms (Mujeres Guerreras) chose Nancy Mercado, mother to Scarlett, to speak for them. She detailed her experiences by saying, “AVANCE is a wonderful program that has helped us move forward and acquire new knowledge, discover our skills and talents. The AVANCE Program has allowed us to identify and support the needs of our children such as the physical, social, emotional and cognitive. It has also helped us to be more self-confident, set short and long-term goals, make beautiful friendships and, above all, spend quality time with our children teaching them through play and dialogue.”

Nancy summed up the feelings of each mother in the room by concluding: “We are graduating, but we are ready to learn more and give more to the community where we reside. We are proud to be AVANCE Alumni.”


To say we are proud of these mothers is an understatement. We were a little teary-eyed saying goodbye to this graduating class, but we know it is not an official goodbye because they will always be a part of the AVANCE family! 


Corporate Volunteer Corner Spring 2018

As the 2017-2018 program year comes to a close, we’re feeling extremely thankful for all the community support we’ve had throughout the year. Our corporate volunteers contribute valuable time and resources to our program! We’re proud to spotlight 3 corporate volunteer groups who have partnered with us to make an impact on our Parent-Child Education Program:

Keep reading to learn more about the fun and interactive projects these corporations completed!

Special thanks to Cvent for donating materials and preparing goodie bags for our 20th birthday celebration! This group of enthusiastic volunteers provided bags and party favors to gift to the 150 families enrolled in our Parent-Child Education Program. The bags were stuffed with sunglasses, stickers, snacks, and lots of love! Mil gracias to our friends at Cvent for going the extra mile to make our 20th birthday a celebratory success!

A big AVANCE thanks to the IBM JumpStart Program! These volunteers spent an afternoon preparing poster board for our Parent-Child Education Program participants to transform into graduation caps! We can’t wait to see more than 150 children cross the stage in an AVANCE graduation cap, handmade with love by their own mothers. Mil gracias to these hardworking volunteers for making our graduation ceremony extra special!
Over Spring Break, a team of General Motors employees spent their afternoon tracing and cutting out materials to support our educational toy making program. This group of IT professionals was so efficient, they finished their project in record time! These skillfully cut shapes will become part of a Rolling Can toy, one of the 17 educational toys our parents make each program year. Mil gracias to our friends at General Motors for promoting a lifelong love of learning through educational toy making!
For more information on corporate volunteer opportunities, contact Catherine Frost.

Special Volunteer Spotlights: Erica & Liliana

As our 2017-2018 Parent-Child Education Program year comes to a close, we are feeling incredibly grateful for all the community support we’ve received along the way. Our volunteers are some of our greatest supporters, aiding teachers and staff in making AVANCE programming a great success!

We are lovingly spotlighting two extra special volunteers whose hard work and dedication brightened our days. Mil gracias to Erica and Liliana for making this program year our best yet!

Erica Foster
Volunteer Teacher’s Aide

 “I love working with the kids and being able to practice Spanish. They often end up teaching me! It’s nice to work with the same kids every week, building a connection with them. I think the mission of AVANCE is really important and I can see the value it brings to the community. The sustainability is great and relationships are formed and continue even after the program is over.” -Erica


After a serendipitous encounter with AVANCE’s ESL instructor, Erica decided to come check us out at a Café y Cuentos tour. She fell in love with our early childhood education classes and quickly became an integral part of our Wednesday toddler’s class as a teacher’s aide. Erica’s calm and peaceful nature creates balance in our active and exciting early childhood education class. She has watched our Wednesday toddlers group grow and cannot wait to see them cross the graduation stage at the end of this month. We are so appreciative of Erica’s assistance in nurturing our little learners!

Added bonus: Erica owns a coffee shop just down the street from the AVANCE classrooms! Check out Flitch for a delicious cup of coffee with a fun East Austin vibe.


Liliana Romero
Volunteer Staff Support

“I enjoy giving my time to another person, especially to these moms and kids. It brings me peace, and I sometimes learn from them because I have the same experiences as a mom. I love AVANCE, the people, and passion they have for the mission. I also enjoy helping in the classroom and with toy making.” – Liliana

While adjusting to a recent move to Austin from her home country of Colombia, Liliana found herself searching for friends and familiarity. A google search brought her to the AVANCE-Austin homepage, where she learned about our many opportunities to get involved. Liliana visited during a Café y Cuentos tour, where our Parent-Child Education Program and familiar Latino culture captured her heart. Since then, she has been volunteering at AVANCE almost every day of the week! She has helped as an assistant in our classrooms, crafted sashes for our moms to wear at graduation, served snacks at family enrichment events, and so much more! Liliana’s enthusiastic and bubbly personality makes her great with kids and a joy to be around. We are so thankful to have her help!


Interested in joining the AVANCE-Austin Family as a volunteer? Click here for more information.