Since 1973, AVANCE, a nonprofit organization, has continued to provide innovative education and family support services to predominately Hispanic families in low-income, at-risk communities. Dedicated to promoting school readiness and supporting family engagement AVANCE proudly serves as the national model and best practice of early childhood education for parents, teachers, the scientific community and general public.
What began in a 500-unit public housing development serving 35 families has expanded to more than 100 program sites across the nation, providing more than 25,000 families with hope for a better future each year. Through a multi-million dollar budget, AVANCE is able to better reach and better serve underprivileged Hispanic communities.
Derived from the Spanish term meaning, “advance,” AVANCE is committed to “Unlocking America’s Potential" by strengthening families in at-risk communities through effective parent education and support programs. The signature, Parent-Child Education Program provides parents with the tools to become active participants in their child’s life while providing children, zero to three years of age with the education needed to become prepared and engaged students.
This evidence-based program model is preventative, community-based and two-generation focused. The Parent-Child Education Program concentrates on parenting education, family support, early childhood development, brain development, literacy, and school readiness. The free, nine-month curriculum consists of weekly parent education classes with special topics that recognize the great importance of reading, effective discipline and balanced nutrition. A unique element, toy-making, promotes teaching through play and encourages personal connections amongst participants. This activity reduces stress that often impedes effective parenting while promoting self-sufficiency to parents. Home visits, child care and transportation are other significant model components, playing an integral role in the program’s overall success. In addition, The Program provides parents with the opportunity to participate in adult literacy classes that better prepare them for obtaining their GED, ESL (English as a Second Language) or attend college.
The Parent-Child Education Program confidently reports more than 90% of AVANCE participant children outperform peers in Reading, Math, Writing, and Science, according to Dallas Independent School District (ISD) and El Paso ISD Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test scores. It is through quality curriculums like AVANCE’s Parent-Child Education Program that allow children to move past any obstacles and gain the language, math, and social skills needed for school success.
Research shows that the first three years of a child’s life are the most important developmentally. During this period, the brain creates billions of cells and the intricate system of synapses or connections, responsible for vision, hearing, language and higher cognitive thinking. Ultimately, the experiences a child has during these critical years greatly impact brain development. AVANCE recognizes that these early learning experiences can first begin in the home. “Parents, first teachers and home, the first classroom” is a motto that the organization advocates. It is through their well-rounded curriculum that parents are assisted in crafting a cognitively enriching environment in their homes greatly benefitting the intellectual development of their child.
AVANCE’s continuous efforts assisting vulnerable Hispanic families are important to many foundations—large and small. Its program services create change and improve outcomes for families that many foundations want to achieve through their funding.
AVANCE has earned much acclaim from national venerated press as the New York Times, Parade Magazine, ABC World News Tonight, Hispanic Business Magazine, and Parent’s Magazine. Additionally, AVANCE has been included in books authored by three First Ladies, “It Takes a Village,” by Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barbara Bush’s “First Teachers” and Rosalynn Carter’s “Helping Someone with Mental Illness.”
In May 2010, AVANCE furthered their long-term partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation by receiving the largest grant in organization history. $12.6 million is being entrusted by the Kellogg Foundation towards the advancement of the organization’s AVANCE Parent-Child Education Program which has greatly improved the school readiness of disadvantaged children.