Madre of the Month: Gricelda "Gris" Velazquez-Torres

Each month, AVANCE-Austin brings you stories of inspiration and success from our Parent-Child Education Program.

With twin sons, Edgar and David

With twin sons, Edgar and David on the first day of class

Gris is the dedicated mother of twin son, Edgar and David, who are 1 year and 4 months old. She and her husband decided to begin a new life in the U.S. when they found out they were pregnant and wanted a better future for their sons.

In her home state of Guanajuato, Mexico, Gris had been a teacher for children ages 3 to 6 years old and was passionate about helping her students reach their full potential. Being a new mother, along with the transition of moving to the United States and a new culture was difficult, and she did not know English. For the first few months, she was very lonely and afraid to leave the house.

“In Mexico, I was a very independent person,” she describes herself. Being a new mother, it was hard to seek out new opportunities and resources. Although she had worked with children as a teacher for over a decade, caring for newborn twins was quite the challenge. After Edgar and David were born, she began looking for day care centers and schools in hopes of returning to work. Her sister-in-law told her about AVANCE’s free education program for parents and young children and told Gris how much it had helped her when she was in the program herself the year before.

Since joining the Parent-Child Education Program, Gris has learned to nurture each of the twins’ unique personalities. “David is the more outgoing one, who loves to be read to, while Edgar is more timid, and likes hands-on activities, like playing with the toy-blocks.”
In the program, she has been learning English with our AmeriCorps member and ESL instructor, Hope Williams.

She loves seeing the smiles on her sons’ faces when the AmeriCorps member and Early Childhood teacher, Teresa Tirado greets them each morning. Her hope as a parent is to encourage her children’s independence, but also act as a confidante when they need help.
Her husband is also another source of motivation for her. “He is always asking me if I have any homework,” She laughs.

As for her goals after AVANCE, she hopes to volunteer and help other mothers just like her in the community. She plans to keep learning English and continue her career as a teacher. When asked what keeps her going she says, “I see the love that I have for being a teacher in my own sons.”

Congratulations Gris!