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The Full Story

About Us

Nuestra historia

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1996 Inspiration & Role Model

It started with a friendship between student and former teacher. 

Esteban Salinas, a devoted educator, served as a guide for Juan and Griselda Salinas’ (co-founders) formation into educational leaders. From 1996 to 2016, Juan and Griselda sharpened their teaching methodology and philosophy to one in which parents would take a central role in their children’s education. The mentorship they received from Mr. Salinas and their experiences as school teachers, parents, and son and daughter inspired them to create a support system that would integrate families and education. During their development into community leaders, Esteban Salinas was ever present, fueling their motivation to share their knowledge with students and parents in and outside the classroom.  With strong moral and family values they learned that to make a change in education, they had to be part of a leading, family-centered initiative. 
 

2016 Educational Oppurtunity

In 2016, Mrs. Salinas and her students formed La Frontera club in an attempt to help Mexican American students feel welcome by providing a safe space and support group.  Mrs. Salinas began the club by organizing gatherings during their lunchtime to share their experiences and strengthen student-teacher relationships.  The club served as a platform to create new social, cultural, and educational experiences for students and their families.   

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2017 Cultural Enrichment

La Frontera club expanded by incorporating artistic and cultural aspects now hosting traditional Folklórico ballet.  This diversified the activities, opportunities, and parental support for the club ensuring its continued success.  With the newfound parental support, the club was able to foster the usual meetings now with students and their families hosting field trips to local educational and cultural community events.

2018 Family and Education

La Frontera club's impact was strengthened by parental support and university student and faculty collaborations.  Parents took on a more active role during afternoon meetings discussing issues of language barriers in the educational system.  More university student groups, community organizations, and local governmental agencies contributed resources and increased opportunities for La Frontera club students and their families.  
 

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2019 Family Leaders

La Frontera club families took on a leadership role in creating their own social, cultural, and educational opportunities for their community encouraging them to establish their own family-led organization.  Family meetings relocated to the residence of the co-founders providing greater creative control and rebranding to Club Familiar La Frontera.  This allowed for more resources and support from families leading to new partnerships with educational and community leaders.  

2020 Building Partnerships

The creative control gained through Club Familiar La Frontera expanded collaborations and family partnerships with students, faculty, and administrators.  These efforts continued virtually through the pandemic expanding the family leaders and community network.  Family leaders began to provide faculty development workshops to educators and launched the Connecting Generations initiative rediscovering the ancestral knowledge of parents and grandparents.  

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2021 Connecting Generations

The family leaders’ initiative, Connecting Generations, and community partnerships led to the founding of the non-profit organization AVE Frontera.  After extensive family involvement and collaboration with the local university, the National Science Foundation awards a grant to the university and AVE Frontera to establish a novel Family-Centered Theory of Change to transform undergraduate STEM education.  The organization continued its educational and cultural events led by families for families in their local community.  

2022 A Theory of Change

The Family-Centered Theory of Change and action led to more family engagement and integration into undergraduate STEM education across the Rio Grande Valley.  Family leaders played a larger role in transforming teaching practices, community-engaged research, and institutional policy of the local university.  AVE Frontera’s family-centered approach began to establish itself as a national model for excellence and equity in higher education.  

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2023 Community Network

AVE Frontera’s family leader network expanded its operations to two new locations, South Pharr and Edinburg.  The organization’s impact increased exponentially through the collective efforts and partnerships with student organizations, institutions of higher education, local governments, and agencies.  The organization with its Family-Centered Theory of Change positioned itself at the national stage due to revamped family leader commitments and support from top-level directors and administrators from local, state, and national foundations and institutions.  

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