AVANCE-Austin Honors Judge Orlinda Naranjo at 5th Annual Luncheon

(Left to right) Telemundo anchor Karla Leal, Judge Orlinda Naranjo, and supporter Janis Pinelli

Friends and supporters of AVANCE-Austin gathered at the Driskill Hotel on October 17thfor the 5th Annual Fundraising Luncheon. This year’s event was one of the most successful to date, bringing in over $40,000 in donations to support the important work of the Parent-Child Education Program (PCEP). 

 Judge Orlinda Naranjo, the first Latina elected to countywide bench in Austin was honored at the Luncheon for her years of public service and commitment to justice for the underserved. She shared her inspiring life story with attendees and applauded mothers in the AVANCE program for taking the first step to give their child a brighter future:

“Moms who have gone through the AVANCE program are successful because they’ve dreamed bigger and better things for their children,” Naranjo said, “They have made a commitment to take their children down the path of success.”

Angelica Mendez, AVANCE-Austin parent graduate shows luncheon guests the doll she made for her daughter in the program.

Judge Naranjo was born into a working-class, Spanish-speaking household in New Mexico. Her mother was a maid and school cook, while her father operated heavy equipment. As a young woman, Judge Naranjo was able to pay her own way through college despite obstacles such as the death of her father when she was just fifteen, and becoming a mother at seventeen.  In 2012, Judge Naranjo was appointed to The National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the courts, served for six years on the Texas Indigent Defense Task Force, and currently serves on the Texas Judicial Council, working to improve the Texas legal System.

Luncheon guests also heard firsthand about the impact of the AVANCE-Austin program from parent graduate Angelica Mendez.  Angelica credits AVANCE-Austin’s Parent-Child Education program with making her a better mother: “I learned how to be a better parent, to make toys and play with my daughter. After AVANCE, my daughter was ready for Pre-K. Her teachers trust her to do errands and she knows all her colors, numbers and letters. I am very proud of her.”