History of AVANCE

The story of AVANCE began in 1972 when Dr. Gloria Rodriguez was introduced to the Mother-Infant Program, created by two Cornell University doctoral students studying under Dr. Urie Bronfenbrenner.


Dr. Rodriguez was so inspired by the program that she decided to utilize the model and Bronfenbrenner's theory to create the AVANCE Parent-Child Education Program. In September of 1973, Dr. Rodriguez founded AVANCE and began offering the Parent-Child Education Program at the Mirasol Housing Project on San Antonio’s west side.


Since those early days, AVANCE has grown to serve the state of Texas and is starting to expand beyond the borders of the Lone Star State. Throughout our history, AVANCE has earned broad recognition and funding from various sources. Notable visits from national and international dignitaries include the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Prince Charles of Wales, Oprah Winfrey and former U.S. First Ladies Rosalynn Carter, Hillary Clinton, the late Barbara Bush, and Laura Bush. AVANCE has been featured in the New York Times, NBC’s Education Nation, ABC's World News Tonight and Good Morning America, along with several social documentaries such as Ounce of Prevention and Scared Silent. Explore our historical timeline below to learn more about how we have grown into a national leader in two-generation programming. 

Timeline of Accomplishments

1972 - Every story has a beginning

1972 – Every story has a beginning

Bonnie Park and Ann Willig, doctoral students at Cornell University create the Mother-Infant program in Dallas, TX inspiring AVANCE founder, Dr. Gloria Rodriguez.
1973 - AVANCE is born

1973 – AVANCE is born

Dr. Gloria Rodriguez, a teacher and advocate for parent education, establishes AVANCE in San Antonio and begins offering the Parent-Child Education Program (PCEP) at the Mirasol Housing Project. Initially serving 35 families in a 500-unit public housing development, AVANCE has grown into a national leader in two-generation programming. 
1986 - Your Majesty, may we present AVANCE

1986 – Your Majesty, may we present AVANCE

During his trip to Texas, Price Charles, now King Charles III, King of the United Kingdom, stopped by San Antonio’s West side to visit the organization advocating for parent education, AVANCE. 
1988 - AVANCE in the Spotlight

1988 – AVANCE in the Spotlight

The New York Times and ABC World News present the widely acclaimed Parent-Child Education Program, and the First Lady, Barbara Bush visits AVANCE for the first time.  
1988 - Another Door Opens

1988 – Another Door Opens

AVANCE expands in Texas with the opening of a new chapter office, AVANCE-Houston. 
1990 - An Even Start for children

1990 – An Even Start for children

AVANCE receives one of the first Nationwide Even Start Programs grants to improve the academic achievement of young children and their parents in low-income families, especially in the area of reading. 
1991 - AVANCE goes National

1991 – AVANCE goes National

AVANCE opens the National Headquarters in San Antonio, TX and establishes the first National Board of Directors 
1991 - An Oprah-tunity

1991 – An Oprah-tunity

Oprah Winfrey invites AVANCE to be part of “Scared Silent,” a documentary about child abuse. 
1996 - A New Chapter

1996 – A New Chapter

Lisa Oglesby Rocha establishes AVANCE-Dallas (now AVANCE-North Texas) with five employees, three sites, and a budget of $300,000. AVANCE is featured in First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton’s book “It Takes a Village” in which she presents her vision for the children of America.
1997 - Deep in the Heart of Texas

1997 – Deep in the Heart of Texas

AVANCE opens a new chapter in the state capitol, AVANCE-Austin. 
1998 - Book Debut

1998 – Book Debut

In her book, “Helping Someone with Mental Illness,” First Lady Rosalynn Carter cites AVANCE in discussing the effectiveness of organizations in the promotion of mental well-being. 
2010 - Unprecedented Achievement

2010 – Unprecedented Achievement

AVANCE makes history by becoming the recipient of a $12.6 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to expand the core Parent-Child Education Program across the Nation. 
2012 - Excellence in Education

2012 – Excellence in Education

AVANCE receives the H-E-B Excellence in Education Award and the Simmons Luminary Award for Education Excellence for its innovative programming that serves as a model for improving education. 
2014 - Taking 2Gen to a Higher Level

2014 – Taking 2Gen to a Higher Level

AVANCE joins the Ascend Network at the Aspen Institute, a catalyst and convener for collaborators to elevate innovative two-generation approaches to educational success and economic mobility. 
2016 - Focusing on Rural Communities 

2016 – Focusing on Rural Communities 

AVANCE opens the first Parent-Family Community Engagement Center in Alamo, TX, serving the broader Rio Grande Valley Region. 
2018 - 45-Year-Old Startup

2018 – 45-Year-Old Startup

AVANCE Inc. refocuses and begins updating the core Parent-Child Education Program with assistance from The Harvard Center on the Developing Child, Frontiers of Innovation, Child Trends, and True Point consulting. 
2019 - Expanding our Two-Gen Model

2019 – Expanding our Two-Gen Model

AVANCE pilots a new program to support family child care providers to increase the quality of care for children in their homes: the Quality Child Care Matters Program.  With great success of the pilot in Hidalgo County, TX, the Texas Workforce Commission funds AVANCE to expand the Quality Child Care
2020 - Resilience amid a Global Crisis

2020 – Resilience amid a Global Crisis

In response to COVID-19, AVANCE adapts the Parent-Child Education Program for virtual delivery. AVANCE becomes an affiliate of UnidosUS. Office of Head Start awards AVANCE a grant expanding Head Start and Early Head Start in the Rio Grande Valley across Starr and Zapata Counties. 
2021 - Continued Growth & Innovation

2021 – Continued Growth & Innovation

With support of the Texas Workforce Commission, AVANCE launches a statewide business coaching program for family child care providers. In partnership with El Paso Community College and Workforce Borderplex, AVANCE pilots AVANCE to College, a program that utilizes the Parent-Child Education Program to provide parents direct access to postsecondary education.