Mother of the Year celebrated at AVANCE's annual luncheon

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AVANCE San Antonio honored two local women who exemplify the values instilled in their city-wide parenting classes and who serve as role models for parents currently enrolled in their programs.

Marie Smith and Elida Cruz Galindo were given the Mother of the Year Award at AVANCE's annual luncheon on May 7 that was attended by more than 500 guests.

AVANCE's Chairman’s Award, selected by the AVANCE-San Antonio Board of Directors, is awarded to a San Antonio mother who has lovingly ensured her children’s success and exemplifies civic responsibility. This year’s Chairman’s Award was given to Marie Hall Smith, a long-time friend and supporter of AVANCE.

From her education and nursing career in pediatrics and her passion for cancer research, Marie Smith has nurtured a lifelong devotion to service. Ms. Smith is a founding Board member and Past President of Respite Care of San Antonio, the first Executive Director of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation (San Antonio Affiliate) and received the Junior League’s Volunteer Extraordinaire Award in 2005. She and her husband, Paul, have raised four children and now, two grandchildren.

Our other honoree is an AVANCE graduate who is selected by a group of the organization’s employees, many of whom themselves are AVANCE graduates. This award is given to an alumnus who has devoted herself to her children’s success and has proven herself as a role model to her children.

This year’s award was given to Elida Cruz Galindo, a graduate of the first AVANCE class of 1973. Despite being a single mother with three children, Mrs. Galindo struggled to complete her GED and with the support of AVANCE, obtained her LVN certification in 1974. Elida has been an employee of University Hospital for the past 20 years.

Past winners include Mayor Emeritus Lila Cockrell, Charline McCombs, Joci Straus, Mollie Steves Zachry, Secretary of State Hope Andrade, Louise Beldon, Barbara Dreeben, Graciela Alarcon-Cigarroa, Veronica Salazar Escobedo and Jane Phipps.

AVANCE-San Antonio is a non-profit organization that provides education and family support to parents with young children. Through parenting education, parents gain the knowledge to become their child’s first teacher and ensure school readiness in their young children.