Of the 49 girls who have gone through the four-year Mother-Daughter Program in Edinburg, Texas, the past three years, almost 94 percent completed high school and gone on to college. The program works to encourage young women, especially Hispanic students in grades 8-12, to continue their high school and college educations.
The program received a boost five years ago when it received a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Managing Information with Rural America (MIRA) initiative. That funding enabled the program to produce a video story for publicity and fundraising purposes.
This past year, approximately 70 teams of mothers and daughters from six area school districts participated in the successful program, says program director Rosalinda Olivarez. Mothers and daughters meet three times each month during the school year usually one weekend, one evening and once after school. During these sessions, mothers and daughters learn about educational opportunities, colleges that offer degrees that fit their interests and financial aid.
Linda Guzman and her daughter, Irma, are one mother daughter team in the program. Irma joined when she was in sixth grade. She’s a ninth grader now. Irma says she has learned a lot about her mother through her involvement in the program. “Sometimes we daughters think we can do this planning on our own,” she says. “But then my mother will bring up questions that I never thought about and will help me think through the answers. The program has really improved our communication.” Irma says the program has taken them on university visits to help girls and their mothers find the university that best fits their needs.
Olivarez says Mother-Daughter is a real “feel good program” that involves the mothers in the planning process of their daughters’ futures. “It’s so wonderful to see mothers and daughters communicating their feelings in this process,” says Olivarez. The key to success, she adds, is to get the daughters started early in the program by seventh grade. She says a high percentage of those who enter early finish high school and go on to college.