El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services
Friday, March 24, 2023

A Night to Remember Forever

The whole evening was very emotional for me. The candles on the table and the corsage made me feel like a different woman...not the same person I had been. I could not believe all of this was for me. It was very nice to have the men serving us because usually we are the ones who serve the food. Now I have the diploma and picture on display in my home. My son is proud that the two of us accomplished something together and he looks at the photo of us often. (translated from Spanish)

Roselia, 2012 AVANCE graduate


May 17, 2012 was a life milestone for the fifteen mothers in our first parent-child education program graduating class. Each woman was aglow, her sparkly new outfit topped by carefully styled hair, a home-made mortar board, and a gorgeous smile. Processing into the El Buen Pastor church sanctuary with their mothers, the twenty-three preschoolers and babies (equally decked-out) were on their best behavior, aware that on this evening they had a special status that set them apart from their older siblings and cousins—they were AVANCE graduates.



The women had every right to be proud of their accomplishments—for nine months they had participated in three hours of weekly in-class discussion and regular homework assignments, learning new ways of managing their families to create a framework for their children’s future academic success.


In a fellowship hall transformed by twinkle lights and well-laid tables, the women were served a post-graduation meal catered by the Olive Garden. The special touches were made possible by our corporate sponsor for the evening, the Winston-Salem office of Robert W. Baird and Company, whose employees volunteered as part of their annual “Baird Cares” campaign. Not only did the Baird folks make-over the fellowship hall, provide wrist corsages, and serve as waiters, they also presented each woman a photograph of herself and her child framed together with her diploma.


Thank you to our friends at Baird for honoring these women for their courage and persistence in learning new ways of “doing family”.


It was my first graduation ever, so it was very special and made me feel very proud. The way the men served us the food at the tables made me feel like I have value. They were so kind and nice to us when they served. It was a night to remember forever. (translated from Spanish)

Nancy, 2012 AVANCE graduate