Thelma Garza

Thelma Garza

Rio Grande Valley, 2023

In 2022, Thelma Garza was picking up her children from school when an AVANCE teacher approached her with information about PCEP. Her youngest child, Alonso, was only three then, so she decided to try the program.

Because Thelma already had older children, she wasn’t sure what to expect from PCEP. To her surprise, it wasn’t long before she fully immersed herself in the program, impressed with how much she was learning.

Through PCEP, Thelma learned how to connect with her children more closely. She gained valuable tools that helped her improve her patience and communication with Alonso and her older children. Over time, Thelma also noticed a change in how she felt about herself. She believed in herself more. The support she received in PCEP helped her build self-assurance and become more confident as a mother.

During PCEP, Thelma took all her lessons to heart, but her fondest memories are of toy making. She had so much fun discovering how to handcraft toys without spending money by using materials around the house. She loved that the lessons taught her how to use the toys to play with her children, spend quality time with them, and nurture their learning and development.

While Thelma continues to apply everything she learned in PCEP, she recognizes the program’s impact on her three-year-old son. Interacting with other children in the program helped improve Alonso’s social skills, and he is also academically prepared to start school soon. In the meantime, Alonso enjoys playing the piano and singing, and despite his young age, he already has ideas about his future, aspiring to one day become a firefighter.

Looking back on her experience, Thelma says she is truly grateful to the teachers who approached her that day to discuss PCEP. With her newfound confidence and the knowledge and tools she acquired through AVANCE, Thelma is ready and prepared to help her family thrive.