Anais and Maria del Pilar Cruz
Maria Suarez is an amazing eleventh grader who attends Akins High School. Though Maria got her start with Con Mi MADRE in 2008, her mother and namesake, has been involved with our organization since early 2002. In the spirit of legacy, Maria has followed in her older sister’s footsteps and has become the latest success in a long line of family achievement. One of her sisters, also a Con Mi MADRE graduate, is our own newly appointed Program Director, Karen Gonzalez.
Con Mi MADRE offers so many engaging programs that it is difficult for our girls to select one favorite. When asked to choose, Maria admittedly gravitates towards volunteering in the community. Con Mi MADRE requires mother-daughter teams to complete 15 hours of volunteer service. Maria and her mother often volunteer far beyond the required hours. You will see their welcoming smiles at our yearly Graduation Ceremony or wrapping gifts and spreading cheer to families at the Brown Santa event during the Holiday Season.
With successful sisters and a supportive mother, Maria is inspired and excited to take on the world and pass on the lessons she has learned. In the future, she not only looks forward to increasing her volunteer activities, but she is excited about continuing the tradition of being the next family member to earn her college degree.
Melissa and Mayra
Elizabeth and Patricia
Senior, Elizabeth and her mother Patricia have been participating in Con Mi MADRE’s programs since Elizabeth was about 13 years old.
Elizabeth thoroughly enjoys participating in Con Mi MADRE’s programs because she feels engaged and empowered. Her favorite aspect of the Con Mi MADRE core program is the opportunity she has to partner with her mother Patricia to give back to their community by volunteering. Though Con Mi MADRE requires each mother-daughter team to participate in 15 hours of volunteer service, Elizabeth and Patricia often volunteer well over their required hours.
There’s also a bit more buzz in Elizabeth’s excitement this year, as she will be making decisions on which colleges she wishes to attend after graduation. Con Mi MADRE is there every step of the way offering chaperoned college trips to various Universities throughout the state of Texas.
In addition to visiting colleges with the girls, Con Mi MADRE will also help Elizabeth search for scholarships to help her family provide for her post-secondary education. Although Elizabeth’s mother, Patricia, did not earn her college degree in her youth, she knows the importance of education. In fact, Patricia recently went back to school and is currently working on her Bachelor’s degree at Texas State University.
Maria and Maria
“I would say be consistent as a Mom. Some days are a struggle and you have to help your child get up and stay focused on their goal. Con Mi MADRE was great at explaining all of this to us when we started the program and we are so grateful.”
Anais will tell you the investment you make today has real results.
“Sometimes it was hard to realize the sacrifices you have to make - the little things you give up. Really, they are small sacrifices and the results impact you later. They all add up! Pull through – it’s definitely worth it. You’re worth it!”
Anais’ networking skills and internships during her time at St. Ed’s, helped her build strong relationships -- a big investment in her future. After working some time with Sendero Health Plans and experiencing the healthcare industry, Anais applied for a full-time position with their parent company, Central Health and has been putting her degree to use as a recently hired Community Engagement Coordinator.
Anais Cruz started Con Mi MADRE with her mother, Pilar, back in 6th grade and recently graduated from St. Edward’s University in December with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication.
Anais’ mother, Maria del Pilar Cruz, knows the power of education. Born in Mexico and raised in Brownsville she has been a bilingual teacher at Houston Elementary for 31 years. As a team, Anais and Mrs. Cruz attended campus meetings, conferences, and events hosted by Con Mi MADRE like the Leadership Summit that allowed participants to stay overnight on campus and get a taste of what college life could be. They also invested many hours annually through CMM’s volunteer service projects such as the Austin Police Operation Blue Santa and at H-E-B’s Annual Feast of Sharing.
What advice does this dynamic mother-daughter
duo have for others ready to invest in their future?
Melissa, a graduate of Austin High School is the first in her family to graduate from high school and go to college.
Melissa and her mother Mayra have been with Con Mi MADRE for 7 years. They have seen the program grow and progress and have contributed to the growth through their volunteer engagement and community outreach.
Melissa and Mayra are goal oriented ladies and they are excited about Melissa’s first year in college and her plan for the next 4 years. Both ladies are working diligently towards Melissa’s dream of beginning her own nonprofit organization someday. She may even wind up working for Con Mi MADRE!
The world is her oyster and we are proud to congratulate her on her Graduation and support her through this next phase of her college education.