At 18, Elida Galindo was a stay-at-home mom with three children. Her family was living at the Mirasol Housing Project when an AVANCE representative knocked on her door with information about a new program. She enrolled in the AVANCE Mother-Infant Program, now known as PCEP, but dropped out three times. Each time, someone convinced her to return. Finally, on the last occasion, Dr. Gloria Rodriguez, the founder of AVANCE, visited, offering her support. Frustrated, Elida asked, “Why me?” To which Dr. Rodriguez kindly replied, “Why not?”
Inspired, Elida returned to the program, and she and her son, Vicente, joined the first graduating class of AVANCE in 1975. Elida continued her education with AVANCE’s support, obtaining her GED and then a nursing degree. For the next 37 years, she worked as a Licensed Vocational Nurse. She also remained involved with AVANCE, dedicating time to volunteer and advocacy work. Through her perseverance, Elida instilled in all five of her children the importance of education, knowing if she could do it, so could they.
After leaving the US Navy, Vicente pursued an Associate’s in Child Development, then a Bachelor’s in Mexican-American Studies, before earning his Master’s in Community Counseling. Vicente returned to AVANCE in 2010, where he participated in block walks and door-to-door recruiting, just as Dr. Rodriguez had so many years ago when she met his mother. He was also instrumental in developing and leading Services to Fathers, the first AVANCE program specifically for fathers. Today, Vicente continues to give back to the community, working with families through a Saturday morning program.
Vicente is also a proud father himself. His son is in the US Navy, following in his father’s footsteps. Like Elida, Vicente has always emphasized the importance of education, encouraging his son to continue his education once he leaves the military. Recognizing the generational impact of AVANCE, Vincente says that much of what he tells his son he learned from his mother, who, in turn, learned from those who never gave up on her.