FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE-April 13, 2017: AVANCE-Houston did more than compose notes of education at its Fourth Annual Luncheon; it hit a symphonic chord that reverberated across a room filled with mission-driven individuals and community leaders who advocate for, and support high quality education in Houston.

The April 7 luncheon raised nearly $80,000 to support AVANCE’s Parent-Child Education Program (PCEP) and GED services. The event featured Houston ISD Superintendent, Richard A. Carranza, as the keynote speaker, and special guest, Classical Violinist and Innovative Composer, Kai Kight

Kight offered the audience a delightful performance and inspiring message. He referred to parents as “conductors of the orchestra,” and emphasized the vital role they play in encouraging their children to explore their creativity and “compose their own music;” by creating paths to reach their dreams.

Carranza’s message noted the importance of parental involvement in a child’s education, and the benefit the partnership between AVANCE and HISD brings to the community.

 AVANCE has provided its nationally recognized, nine-month PCEP to parents and their preschoolers at various HISD elementary campuses for nearly 30 years.

“We want parents to know what they want for their children, to have the ability and skills and tools to actually nurture that with their children at home, to empower their children to be active learners. That’s true empowerment.  I think that is what we all would agree that AVANCE is about.” Stated Carranza.

 The luncheon also provided the opportunity to hear from graduates of the program; the Cruz-Rogel family, and Carizma Young who shared their testimonies of how AVANCE has transformed their lives.  Both families were honored with the AVANCE Exemplary Family award.

Broadcast Journalist, Vicente Arenas, served as luncheon emcee. Among the guests were AVANCE’s National Board Chair, Olga Rodriguez, Dr. Stephen Klineberg, Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, and several members of the HISD Board of Education.

PCEP gives parents tools and strategies to become actively involved in their children’s personal and educational development. By the time they complete the program, parents understand their role as their children’s first teachers, and their children are also ready for elementary school.”  Reaffirmed, AVANCE’s Executive Director, Luz Flores. “..but it does not stop there. Upon completion, we encourage parents to transition to our GED classes and/or other available programs.” Flores added.

AVANCE thanks Kroger for donating all floral arrangement for the special occasion and to all sponsors for their support to continue improving Houston’s communities.

Douglas & Donna Wheeler, Luz E. Flores & Michael Baerga, Bob & Dot McCallister, Spyros Catechis, Cheshire-Wallace Developers, Ismael Hernandez, United Air Conditioning Supply, CenterPoint Energy, Challenge Office Products, Chevron, Kroger, Littler, Nicl Lopez Tailoring, Univision, Strasburger, Kaplan Early Learning Company, Navarro Insurance Group, Houston Community College, Lakeshore.

About AVANCE: AVANCE is a United Way agency serving over 8,000 parents and children in 20 Houston locations.

AVANCE offers: Parent-Child Education Program (PCEP), Head Start, Early Head Start, Healthy Marriage, Fatherhood, ESL, Workforce, Health and Wellness, and College Readiness services.

AVANCE mission: Unlocking America’s potential by strengthening families in at-risk communities through effective parenting education and support programs.

AVANCE motto: Parents are the first teachers, Home is the first classroom.