The Ruiz Family
Moving to Austin from Mexico in 2010, Alma Ruiz often felt alone and isolated from friends and family. Adding to her challenges, Alma’s youngest daughter, Valeria, was born with microcephaly, and doctors warned she would experience developmental delays. Valeria began receiving physical therapy with Early Childhood Intervention Services at only three months old, but Alma struggled emotionally as her mother. Then Alma attended PCEP at St. John’s Community Center, learning how she could support her children and build a foundation for their future success. After graduating from the program in 2016, Alma joined AVANCE’s Positive Parenting Practices (Triple P) program, where she learned how to parent without saying “no” to help support Valeria with her communication delays. Both programs empowered Alma, helping her build self-confidence and inspiring her to do more and give back to her community. Reflecting on her experience, Alma recalls, “When I started AVANCE, my desire to succeed became stronger, and I felt more motivated to do things out in the world.”
Today, with both her daughters (Valeria in Kindergarten and Sofia in 2nd grade) thriving academically, Alma is now devoting her time to helping other mothers overcome challenges and achieve their dreams. Alma is an active member of AVANCE’s alumni group, Mamas Avanzando, and serves on the Board of Directors of M.I.S.M.A., which stands for Mujeres Inspiradas en Sueños, Metas y Acciones (Women Inspired by Dreams, Goals, and Actions). Alma also continues to advocate for domestic workers’ rights in Texas and throughout the country.
In 2019, AVANCE-Austin recognized Alma with the Individual Hero award for her volunteer leadership. That same year, AVANCE-Austin nominated Alma to serve as a representative for the United Way Parent Advisory Leadership Council, where she participated in conversations to foster community building, engaged in leadership development, and offered feedback on Early Childhood Education and 2-Generation community plans in Travis County.