Yessica Orellana

Yessica Orellana

AVANCE-North Texas, 2015

Yessica Orellana left behind her family and career when she and her husband moved to the United States. Unfamiliar with the language and unable to use her degree, Yessica felt like a caged bird with clipped wings. She was struggling to adapt when she had her son Benjamin. While on social media one day, a friend shared memories of their PCEP graduation. Curious, Yessica looked into the program and registered.

Benjamin was nine months old when Yessica began PCEP, and like many first-time mothers, she felt lost. While her parents had imparted the importance of faith and home, PCEP provided an understanding of parents’ vital role in guiding, supporting, and nurturing the well-being of their children. Yessica also learned she didn’t have to put her dreams aside as a parent. She discovered her passion for early childhood education and felt empowered and renewed in her professional ambition. For opening her eyes to a world of opportunities, Yessica calls AVANCE the “key that God used to open my cage.”

Following PCEP, Yessica wanted to give back to her community and started working at AVANCE as a Home Visitor before becoming an ECE Teacher. She later left her position for family reasons but continued working with AVANCE as a contractor, keeping her dreams alive. Eventually, she returned and is now a PCEP Coach for the AVANCE National Office.

Yessica also applied everything she learned to establish a foundation for her son that he has built on to excel academically. Benjamin’s curiosity and love for reading keep him one step ahead in class, and his academic performance has earned him acceptance into a prestigious magnet school for the upcoming year. Despite his young age, Benjamin already knows he wants to work with animals, and he seizes every opportunity to learn, from zoo visits to documentaries.

Yessica’s resilience and devotion have helped her family thrive, and she has much to be proud of. Reflecting on her journey, she confidently proclaims, “Today, I can say that I have left my golden cage, and my wings have grown, and I have flown high to continue fighting for my dreams and those of my family.”