Avance Parent-Child Program Bonds Tomasa and Dyanira
Tomasa Bonora has four children ranging in age from 16 years to 17 months, and it’s the youngest, Dyanira, with whom she participates in Avance-San Antonio’s Parent and Child Time (PACT) program. The lessons in the nine-month curriculum are matched activities for the “early years” for Dyanira and Tomasa’s parenting education. Together, mother and daughter are able for forge a positive connection in a welcoming environment. When they arrive at Avance’s Carmen P. Cortez Family Center at 1103 San Jacinto, little Dyanira squeals and waves her hands in the air, the mother shared.
“I may have four kids, but you know, you never stop learning. There are always new ideas out there to help me,” Tomasa said. PACT participants are always treated with respect and offered resources with any hardship needs they may encounter. Tomasa learns about nutrition, how to sew toys, listens to speakers about choking hazards and other topics, and experiences parent modeling. “I eat my vegetables so that Dyanira will see me and do it, too,” Tomasa said. She also loves to spend time reading, coloring and singing with her daughter. “Her favorite is the Itsy Bitsy Spider,” she added with a smile.
“Parents love their children, but sometimes they just don’t know how to interact,” said Estela Ipiña, Education Specialist at Avance. Parents of PACT children, ages 13 to 23 months, learn about the developmental stages of their child’s first three years. They also discuss the importance of play, discipline, punishment and guidance. Parents practice behaviors that support play, learning, and brain development. Parents and children make friends at Avance, they gain self esteem and attend social events like the annual Halloween party.
“I think Dyanira will have a better start in life by coming here,” Tomasa said about the PACT program. “We will graduate in May—I wish it was a longer program.”
AVANCE, a United Way partner agency, strengthens families in at-risk communities through parent education and support programs. Founded in 1973, Avance-San Antonio facilitates change: first, in parents, then in their young children, family and home. The change AVANCE makes in today’s families impacts future generations.