Published: March 1, 2017
Saturday, March 4, more than 100 low-income, mostly Spanish-speaking Latino
families will visit Sonoma State University (SSU) to learn how they can make
attending college possible for their children and themselves. The parents and
their children are part of the AVANCE Parent-Child Education Program. Ten
classes of families currently participate in the nine-month-long program, where
a key message is “graduating from college begins at birth.” First 5 Sonoma
County Commission (First 5) has funded AVANCE since 2010.
more than ever, it is critical to invest in Sonoma County’s children and their
parents so that every member of our community has the opportunity to succeed
and thrive. Not only does AVANCE help to ensure children are ready to succeed
when they reach kindergarten, but also supports parents to pursue development
of English fluency, increased literacy, GED completion, and enrollment in
college and vocational programs,” stated Angie Dillon-Shore, First 5 Sonoma
Executive Director. One of First 5’s critical investments is the AVANCE
program. First 5’s AVANCE commitment for fiscal years 2015-18 is $1.44 million.
is a “dual generation” approach that has been proven by research to help
parents be their child’s first and most important teacher, as well as pursue
their own educational and career goals. AVANCE has reached over a thousand
Sonoma County parents who lack equitable access to our K-12 and college
education systems due to poverty, social isolation, limited English skills and
tour, made possible with funding by the John Jordan Foundation, begins with a
presentation by SSU’s Jose Padilla. He tells parents how they can prepare their
children for college, including how to access financial aid. A bilingual
student panel will follow, sharing personal stories of how they overcame
obstacles on their own paths as first-generation college students. The students
offer advice to the pre-K-12 students in the audience as well as their parents.
The students then lead the participants on a tour of the campus and dorms. The
day ends with a real-life college experience— eating lunch in The Kitchens, the
student dining facility inside the Student Center.
to AVANCE a world of opportunities have been opened to me. I continue to search
and achieve new educational goals. AVANCE means to move forward and that is
exactly what we do, we move forward!” said Juan Calvillo of Santa Rosa, 2016
AVANCE graduate and recent GED graduate. Juan is his child’s first teacher and
5 Sonoma County adopted the AVANCE program as one of the evidence-based
programs included in its 10-year strategic plan. Locally the program is
delivered by Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County, Petaluma Adult
School, and the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation. Since the Fall of 2010,
1,260 Sonoma County families have participated in AVANCE, and First 5 has
invested $2.2 million.
nine-member First 5 Sonoma County Commission was established through the
California Children and Families First Act of 1998 and directed to promote,
support, and improve the early development of children from the prenatal stage
through five years of age. The Act established a tobacco tax which funds
the work of this Commission.