AVANCE, an organization that provides resources to prepare students for college, held its third annual luncheon at the Hilton Hotel on Post Oak last Friday with more than a hundred Houston business leaders and education professionals to raise funds for the Parent-Child Education Program and scholarships to GED students who want to pursue a higher education.
ABC 13’s Melanie Lawson emceed the luncheon and the keynote speaker was ABC’s “What Would You Do?” host, John Quiñones.
In his speech, Quiñones spoke about his life growing up in San Antonio and how he admired former reporter Geraldo Rivera as a kid. When he approached his high school counselor about his goals to become a journalist, the counselor replied, “It’s great you have this dream, but we think you should try wood shop.”
Quiñones said he felt judged for the accent in his voice and for the color of his skin, and gave thanks to organizations like Avance that help give back to minority communities.
“We all have the power to make a difference,” Quiñones said.
Gael and Christina Rodriguez, both Houstonians, were awarded the AVANCE-Houston Exemplary Family Award for their dedication toward their education. The couple completed the organization’s programs for Healthy Marriage and English as a Second Language. Additionally, Gael’s sculpture also won the Meaning of Fatherhood Art Contest, which will be the inspiration for the design of the AVANCE fatherhood program logo.
Other honorees include the Houston Fire Department for Community Leader, and Laura Hannusch and Pillsbury, Winthrop, Shaw, Pittman, LLP. for the Corporate Volunteer Award.
I am U.S. Marine Corps veteran pursuing a duel degree in English literature and print journalism, and will graduate in May 2016. I have written for The Cougar (the student-run newspaper at the University of Houston), as well as interned and written for Houstonia magazine. Visit my site, sarasamora.com.