It’s graduation time! Congratulations to all of our graduates from our Parent-Child Education Program (PCEP), Head Start, Fatherhood, Healthy Marriage and GED programs! I also want to congratulate members of our own AVANCE-Houston family who have earned their graduate degrees.

Graduation is a time of reflection, but it is also a beginning. Regardless of where you are in your educational journey, each step takes you further along your path. All of our graduates will face challenges, from our Head Start preschoolers to our parents and staff members. But with every step, you are creating something wonderful, you are creating your life, you are creating a better family, and you are creating a better community.  As President Barak Obama said to the graduating class at Howard University in 2016, “… When your journey seems too hard, and when you run into a chorus of cynics who tell you that you’re being foolish to keep believing or that you can’t do something, or that you should just give up, or you should just settle—you might say to yourself a little phrase that I’ve found handy: Yes, we can.”

Each of our graduates not only could, but they did! We are so very proud of you.

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Over 200 participants graduated from our PCEP program. AVANCE Board Member Daniel Arguijo delivered the keynote address at the ceremony held at the Houston Community College West Loop Campus on June 2. PCEP, a national model of early childhood intervention, teaches parents how to help their children excel during their most critical years of learning. The program is based on the premise that parents are their children’s first and most important teachers.

Congratulations to the 638 children who completed our Head Start program. These 5-year-olds are ready for a successful transition into the formal classroom, and a life-long college-bound culture.

This year, 184 adults and 110 young students graduated from our  Healthy Marriage: Strong Families, Strong CommunitiesProgram. The program served three groups, English speaking adults, Spanish speaking adults and youths in the City of Pasadena. The workshops focus on relationship building, job placement, and educational opportunities. The workshops were held at AVANCE Houston Head Start Centers and community partner locations.

Thirty-five fathers and father figures graduated from our Fatherhood: Fathers in Action program. This is a holistic, whole family program that provides education information, and counseling services on domestic violence and child maltreatment, and workforce development. Fathers in Action is an intensive program aimed at maintaining and improving relationship, enhancing parenting skills and fostering economic stability.

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We are also proud of our 16 GED graduates who prepared for their high school equivalency exam through the AVANCE Adult Education Program. The program delivers access to educational services for participants throughout the Texas Workforce Solutions system.  It increases opportunities for students and promotes transitions at all levels of postsecondary education and training or employment.

AVANCE is all about our students, parents and even our staff appreciating the value of higher education. So, as I congratulate the graduates of our AVANCE programs, I must also congratulate a few of our staff members who have graduated this spring. Eric Johnson earned his Master of Business Administration, Nonprofit Management from Springfield College-Tampa in April. Also in April, Bernadette Lewis graduated from Devry University’s Keller Graduate Program with a Master of Business Administration, Concentration in Human Resources with honors. In May, Janely Diaz received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with Honors, specializing in field accounting, from Ashworth College, and Katya Sousa earned a Masters in Early Childhood from Stephen F. Austin University. Dora Hinojosa graduated from Springfield College and University Massachusetts-Houston Campus with a Masters of Leadership and Management in June.

Education at every stage opens up new opportunities, new possibilities. AVANCE-Houston is here to help you realize your dreams and your potential. To borrow from another successful individual, Oprah Winfrey, “Education is the key to unlocking the world, a passport to freedom.”

 Congratulations graduates!




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