The Meza Family

The Meza Family

Maria Meza moved to the Oak Cliff area of Dallas with her husband and their two-year-old daughter Cinthya in 2002. A year later, while visiting a library, she came across AVANCE representatives registering families for PCEP. Maria was instantly curious, and after speaking with the recruiters, she signed up.

Before PCEP, Maria thought being a good mother meant feeding and providing basic care to her baby. But through the program, she learned the value of education and the importance of supporting her daughter’s learning from a very young age. This lesson was especially significant to Maria because she and her husband only had a sixth-grade education. She learned, though, that their education level or economic background didn’t prevent them from being their children’s first teachers or having high hopes for their future.

Maria credits AVANCE with helping her understand how important she was to her children and how to help her daughter succeed. Cinthya also recognizes AVANCE’s impact on her family, saying that it helped her mother learn how to motivate her, help her, and always be there for her.

With determination, hard work, and her parents’ support, Cinthya flourished. In 2018, she graduated as the valedictorian of her high school. Reflecting on her accomplishments at the time, Cinthya acknowledged her parents’ sacrifices, sharing, “What inspired me to get to where I am were my parents who left everything they had in their country to give my brothers and me a better future.”

Cinthya continued her journey at Harvard University, where she distinguished herself as the president and team captain of the Harvard Tae Kwon Do Club and Vice President of Faith in Action for the Harvard Catholic Student Association. She graduated from Harvard in 2022 with a Bachelor’s in Biomedical Engineering. Following her graduation, Cinthya returned to Dallas, where she works in medical research.

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