9th Annual Luncheon raised $127K!

View the photos from the Luncheon and VIP Meet & Greet Cocktail Reception. (All photos taken by Victor Ovalle for AVANCE-Austin.)

Over 335 supporters attended the AVANCE-Austin 9th Annual Luncheon last Wednesday, October 19 to change everything for low-income children and their parents.


John Quinones dazzles the guests.

In fact, we had a record-breaking year, raising over $127,000 that will change the lives of hundreds of children.

Thanks to our co-presenting sponsors, H-E-B and Seton Ascension, Emmy-award winning television journalist and author, John Quiñones, shared his remarkable story about his journey as the child of a migrant farm working family to becoming one of the most recognized faces in broadcast news today.


Long-time AVANCE supporter Beth Misner of BNI captured her thoughts about the luncheon and AVANCE’s mission. Click on the image to watch her testimonial!

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John Quiñones: AVANCE makes life better for children

First published on Sunday, October 9, 2016
Austin American Statesman – Opinion

By John Quiñones

My father, Bruno, worked as a janitor in San Antonio. He had no education and spoke only Spanish. So when I was 13 and my dad was laid off, his only option was to pack up his family and join a migrant workers caravan.

My parents, sisters and I picked cherries in Michigan and tomatoes in Ohio. The hours were brutal, the pay next to nothing. I was a fifth-generation Texas child, descended from a long line of hardworking, Spanish-only-speaking families, and I was destined to repeat my father’s life.

Until I received two gifts.

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6 ways to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month


Now that it’s Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15), it’s time to celebrate! President Lyndon B. Johnson signed this 30-day period into law in 1968 and since then, communities throughout the U.S. have been celebrating in various ways. National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the independence of 5 Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Mexico. Here at AVANCE, we happen to have families and teachers from each of those countries. Continue reading

Marie Felan Continues as Executive Director

We are so thrilled to announce that Marie Felan will be continuing as Executive  Director of AVANCE-Austin. As you may be aware, AVANCE National Headquarters invited Marie to join the National team in San Antonio, and she gave this serious consideration in her determination to help AVANCE succeed across the United States.
Ultimately, however, Marie felt she needed to continue to direct the amazing progress we have made here in Austin. She felt she could not walk away from stewarding the crucial growth she has helped to bring about in her under two-year tenure to date. After all, AVANCE-Austin:
  • Had the largest graduating class of children and parents this program year and expect growth in our upcoming new program year starting in September.
  • Secured a permanent facility and expanded our early childhood classrooms from 2 to 4 classes and added high quality home education programming.
  • Strengthened our core by expanding our Board of Directors to 16 dedicated, professionals who are committed to an ambitious three-year strategic plan that will see AVANCE double its capacity by 2020.

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2015-2016 Achievements

2015-2016 was a successful year at our new permanent home at the Allan Early Childhood and STEM Center! We are very proud of the nearly 400 individuals we served this year, and grateful for our donors and supporters who made all the success possible.

Take a look at more accomplishments by clicking here.

Infant Teacher Miss Martha and a new AVANCE graduate

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Guest blog: HEB Turkey Wrap recipe

How a Turkey Wrap Changed Everything
as told by Jose Garza

Hooray! I no longer have to resort to the hiding-veggies-in-the-mac-and-cheese trick.

Hooray! I no longer have to resort to the hiding-veggies-in-the-mac-and-cheese trick.

When my mother-and-law learned about the HEB Read3 program 6 weeks ago at AVANCE-Austin, she took my 4-year-old daughter, Emma with her every week. The two of them would come home with stories about the free books they received and how they learned to make delicious meals using…only healthy ingredients. When Emma told me about the Honey Pecan Turkey Wrap with spinach she had made with her grandma, I thought to myself, “My 4-year-old and vegetables were in the same room?” Surely, this was a dream. Usually I have to hide vegetables in my children’s mac and cheese, much to their dismay. Continue reading

Sharing the Joy of Reading

share the joy of reading heb3

Since the beginning of summer, families have joined AVANCE-Austin for our H-E-B Read3 Program. During 6 weeks, families are learning about early literacy and nutrition through a series of fun and educational workshops. At the end of the program in late July, H-E-B Read3 will give the families enough books to build a library!  Continue reading

Meet our Madre of the Month, Aidee

aidee and kendra collage

On Aidee’s first day at AVANCE-Austin, she doubted she would finish the nine-month program. Between managing the auto mechanic and catering businesses she owns with her husband and taking care of her family, four hours a week at AVANCE seemed like a big commitment. “I did not think I’d make it through to the end,” Aidee recalls.

Kendra, Aidee’s daughter, had other plans. She couldn’t wait to get back to her class. Aidee decided to give the class another shot. Kendra, two-and-a-half years old, was making friends quickly, and Aidee was glad that her only child was learning to share with others. Continue reading

Then and Now: Reflections of a former AVANCE student

maria guadalupe past

When she first arrived in the United States, pregnant with her son, Maria Guadalupe was having difficulty adjusting to a new life, a different culture, and a language that was not her own. Her husband’s relatives were nearby, but her own family was thousands of miles away. She had dreams of a career as a   nurse – as she had been in Mexico – but her limited English was a barrier. Continue reading

Cheers for the class of 2016

Infant teacher, Miss Martha and a young graduate

Last month, 200 parents and children ages 0-3 years old walked across the stage to receive their diplomas during the Graduation Ceremony. The Class of 2016 celebrated their achievements and milestones during two ceremonies at the Allan Early Childhood and STEM Center. These proud families are now official graduates of our Parent-Child Education Program. Continue reading