Friday, December 21, 2007

HIPPY Holidays!

Dallas HIPPY Family

Wishing you the very best in 2008! The holidays mark the halfway point of our program year. After a much deserved break we will return (January 7th) to focus on some upcoming projects:

1. HIPPY 20 Year Celebration: February 21 at 6:30 pm, at the Latino Cultural Center. Hold the date and let us know if you can join in the festivities! We are bringing together alumni parents, children, staff, stakeholders and home visitors to celebrate 20 years of HIPPY in Dallas.

2. HIPPY Home Instructor Rally, February 21-22, 2008. This is our annual training event for HIPPY Home Instructors. Each year we provide Home Instructors with both professional and personal development. This year they will receive training on how to maximize their AmeriCorps college education award, and then they will focus on how to develop leadership in parents.

3. Evaluation--we have several evaluation efforts underway this year, begining with our new online MIS (Management Information System) to track family progress. UNT professor Angela Nievar is completing the data gathering on a Timberlawn Foundation funded study comparing HIPPY and non-HIPPY families. Amber Brown will begin data gathering on a study of HIPPY parents who were teenagers when their "HIPPY Child" was born. All this on top of our "regular" evaluation using a parent involvement survey and kindergarten teacher survey!

4. HIPPY*VISTA: 2008 will mark the start up of this exciting project. VISTA members will be placed in various communities (Farmer's Branch/Carrollton; Denton; Fort Worth and one more to be announced soon...) across Texas. These VISTA's will focus on developing a network of stakeholders and funding for parent involvement and school readiness.

That's it for now!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

MIS Online

Where the MIS Magic Happens....
Hector Bojorquez of IDRA and David Tisdale of Texas HIPPY

MIS is the Management Information System, and this year we're fortunate to have entered into a partnership with Intercultural Development Research Association that allows us develop an online MIS for Texas HIPPY. As an online system, the MIS will be more user friendly, provide greater and yet more secure access to data and provide us with the ability to have up to date and real time access to the progress of HIPPY in Texas.

Our online system is being developed as part of the Parent Information Resource Center at IDRA. This move is helping bring HIPPY documentation and data management into the internet. Behind the scenes, a great deal of discussion and information management design had to take place before the heard work of designing an online system could begin. The person tasked with putting the MIS online is Hector Bojorquez of IDRA.

We are so thankful to our partnership with IDRA which will allow us to provide a user friendly program management resource to our HIPPY sites across Texas.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Thankful for Partnerships

HIPPY Partnership with Earning by Learning

At this time of the year we are reminded to give thanks for all the gifts we've been given. Here at Texas HIPPY we've been given so many gifts, not only (but very important) funding, but gifts of talent, energy, time and spirit!

We are particularly thankful this year for new and ongoing funding and would like to thank the Harold Simmons Foundation, the HB and Edna Zale Foundation, the One Star Foundation, the Meadows Foundation, the University of North Texas, the 9 local HIPPY program host agencies, the Intercultural Development Research Association and individual donors who have given to our program. Donations and funding are the resources needed to help us make sure that all children enter school ready to succeed.

Here are some of the other organizations we're thankful for (in alphabetical order):

~ Earning by Learning Dallas, for helping us think creatively and reach more families
~ Half Price Books, for donated new books
~ KERA for donated materials
~ National Council of Jewish Women, in Austin, Dallas, Houston
~ Paciugo, for coupons and donated goodies
~ Texas HIPPY Advisory Council for their support, input and resources
~ Vistas Latino Film Festival for allowing us to partner on a film showing and host a reception
~ VISTA*AmeriCorps for granting us a proposal to focus on expanding HIPPY

Monday, October 22, 2007

Video Conference Presentation

San Antonio and Richardson
Originally uploaded by hippyprogram
On Friday HIPPY had the opportunity to participate in a videoconference presentation. We invited Kay Reynolds, principal at Dobie Primary School in Richardson ISD to present. The HIPPY Coordinators (Maria Loera and Kit Prince) were also present and brought with them mom Celia and her son Adam. As you may imagine, Adam totally stole the show! Here he is working with his mom on the 3 year old curriculum. They demonstrated an activity and after a few moments Adam totally forgot about the camera and TV and really got into it. It was really cute. I love the look of joy on his face in this shot, waiting for his mom to read the story to him. We were linked via videoconference to San Antonio, Eagle Pass and Laredo. On the left side of the screen are the attendees from San Antonio, including a smiling Anna Alicia Romero, the organizer of the videoconference, who works for IDRA (Intercultural Development Research Association). For more pictures on the videoconference, click on the picture above.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Coffee Hour

Menachem Granoff with Mary Greene

In October we welcomed a special guest, Menachem Granoff, to Texas HIPPY. Mr. Granoff was visiting from Israel and stopped for a few days in Dallas on his way to Laredo. During our informal coffee hour Mr. Granoff was able to meet and visit with HIPPY staff, friends and collaborators, including Mary Greene, above. Mary works for KERA and is on the board of directors for the Texas Parent Child Initiative (the non profit organization dedicated to supporting and expanding HIPPY in Texas.) Mr. Granoff shared his experiences as a supporter and contributor to HIPPY Israel as well as his connection to Laredo HIPPY. Having grown up in Laredo, TX and then spending his professional life in Israel since the 1950's, Mr. Granoff is at home in both corners of the world. His particular passion is for the inclusion of fathers in early childhood education initiatives. The National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Dallas Section co-sponsored the coffee hour, and guests included area HIPPY Coordinators, Texas HIPPY Advisors and Collaborators.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Successful HIPPY Reception at Vistas

(left to right) Juanita Elizondo, Carla Weir, Alfreda Rollins, David Tisdale,
Adriana Trevino, Susan Blackburn and Yolanda Smith in the middle!
Thanks to everyone who came out to support HIPPY at the 9th Annual Vistas Latino Film Festival. The showing of "Viva Cuba" was very well received, and the reception following the film was attended by HIPPY friends and new aquaintances from the film festival.
A big thanks expecially to:

* JFrank Hernandez and the Herculano and Elida Hernandez Foundation who sponsors the Vistas Latino Film Festival

* Juanita Elizondo and Fiesta Mart

* Carlos Branger and Zaguan Bakery

* Mark Wren and Half Price Books

* Mary Green and KERA

* Brandy Koerner and Paciugo

* All the HIPPY supporters and staff who sold tickets and joined us at the event

We plan on continuing our year of celebration, so watch this space for opportunitites to join us, support us or volunteer! For more pictures of the reception including our special appearance from "Maya and Miguel", check out our flickr page:

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

HIPPY Reception at Vistas Latino Film Festival

Upcoming this Saturday, September 22nd at the Angelica. For full information check out our website!!!

We're really looking forward to this, our first, celebration of the 20 years of HIPPY in Texas! It's exciting to partner with the Vista's Latino Film Festival and we're looking forward to a successful event.

A big THANK YOU to our other partners for the event:

* Paciugo Gelato, for the goodies!

* Fiesta Supermarkets, for the refreshments!

* Zaguan Bakery, for the baked breads!

* KERA, for bringing "Maya and Miguel" to our party!

* The Volunteer Center of North Texas, Donated Goods program

Everyone who has (or will soon!) purchase tickets for the event!!! And to the coordinators, staff, and board members who purchased or sold tickets! Thanks!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

HIPPY Around the World

Home Visit, El Salvador

I had the opportunity to see HIPPY in another cultural context this summer during my visit to El Salvador. It was so interesting to experience the familiarity of HIPPY in such a different context.

It reminded me that 20 years ago I had the opportunity to see HIPPY in Israel when I went to preservice training. At that time all new coordinators had to travel to Israel to receive training from founder Avima Lombard at Hebrew University. I was lucky enough to be sent there and get a feel for the program. Even though the home visits and parent meetings I saw were conducted in Hebrew and I couldn't really understand what was going on, I could feel it! One of the things I took from that experience is that it is an honor to be allowed into people's homes, and the trust we build with families is a sacred bond.

I've had a chance to see HIPPY in action in such varied communities as Bed-Stuy in NYC, rural Colorado, Hawaii, a colonia in Laredo Texas and the island of Guam. Maybe someday I'll get to see more of our international programs. We now have programs in the following:

El Salvador
New Zealand
South Africa
United States

The "simple" model of parents helping parents to prepare their children for school has taken hold and changed the lives of so many families, world wide!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Summer in El Salvador

HIPPY El Salvador team role playing the curriculum

This summer I had the opportunity to visit HIPPY in El Salvador. The program is sponsored by the Hilda Rothschild Foundation and is implemented from the community of Joya Grande and serves several communities around Lake Ilopango. The program in Joya Grande includes a Montessori preschool, afterschool enrichment, a bakery and the HIPPY program.

I had the opportunity to see home visits and conduct training with the staff of home visitors and coordinators (pictured above). My daughter Sofia came with me and volunteered in the classroom, bakery and observed HIPPY in action.

It was so interesting to see how similar HIPPY works across the world! More interesting still are the differences! listed below:

  • **None of the home visitors have cars and walk to all home visits, including some that are up mountainous trails! To get from the central office back to their community they often hitch a ride with sand trucks that are mining the sand at the lake for use in construction sites in the city.

  • **Once home visits are finished for the day, the home visitors sell bread from the bakery that financially sustains the project.

  • **Families live in multi-generation family compounds and home visits are often conducted before a small audience of children and relatives.

  • **Curriculum materials are the most expensive part of implementing the program (unlike the US program in which salaries are the costliest part).

  • **The HIPPY office is in an open air corridor (see picture above).

I look forward some day to returning to El Salvador and supporting the project as it expands throughout the country. For now, we will maintain contact by email and hopefully the Salvadoran team will be allowed visas to come to the bi-annual HIPPY conference.

Finished with home visits, time to sell bread!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Gayle Hart speaking at the South/West Regional Conference in Dallas
April 2007

Our national office is closing down for the move to Little Rock. I got this email from Gayle Hart, who is the only person making the move from NY to Little Rock with HIPPY. I wish them all the very best in their new endeavors, and welcome Gayle to the neighborhood...Little Rock is after all a half day drive or 1 hour flight away...

Good Morning,

I am here waiting for the arrival of the movers and wanted to take this opportunity to send the last email from the NY office. Yesterday, Diane sent an email to the Board members and talked of turning off the lights and mixed emotions. While last night, Jen, Danette and I turned off the lights at 11 pm after a bustling day of packing; making copies literally as the docutrend movers were removing their property; faxing on a fax that decided it was mad at us and stopped receiving; and laughing with one another. Nicole had responsibilities with her new position and couldn’t join us, but she was here in spirit. Merle was with us until late in the day and even Gloria Carney stopped by to give me some last minute training on the fiscal system! HIPPY’s are HIPPY’s until the end….and beyond! J

Yesterday was a microcosm of the time that I have had here with HIPPY. There have been so many wonderful relationships and excellent staff – HIPPY has been very fortunate to truly have some of the brightest and best at its disposal. And, the staff this past fiscal year – including those who have already moved on – were the Very Best Team Ever! And, while I know that new and wonderful relationships and more excellent staff will be part of the organization in Little Rock, I still need to take this opportunity to publicly say “JOB, VERY WELL DONE!” to all of the staff. I have said to the young’uns – Nicole, Jen and Danette- that are moving into other positions, they are bound to succeed - they already have intelligence, competence and expertise working for them!

One of the things that we have found out this year is that if you ever need someone to coordinate packing up, Merle is your gal! Danette has proven that all debts CAN be collected. I cannot say enough about Jen – she makes it possible for me to accomplish whatever I do. And, Nicole has taken HIPPYCorps to new and wonderful heights. All the remaining staff, plus Gloria, Liz and Sheetal who was only here for a brief time, and Mala our accountant consultant, have made the last 9 months quite memorable!

So though right now the morning is not exactly feeling good, I welcome the opportunities the relocation brings for the organization and for me. I look forward to serving the organization with continued commitment and renewed zest. Last, but just as important, I thank each of you for your personal and organizational support during a very challenging time!


M. Gayle Hart
National Program Director

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Laredo Expansion

l-r: Jesse Olivarez, Richard Perez, Ray Keck
Becky, Esther Hernandez, Carla Weir
While in Laredo last week I had the opportunity to meet the president of Texas A&M International University, Dr. Keck. TAMIU is the host agency for HIPPY in Laredo. The university has offered a wonderful home for HIPPY as well as visibility and connection to all the most important organizations in Laredo.

During our meeting we discussed plans for expansion of HIPPY in Laredo, to make the most of the 3 years of seed money that Mr. Mendell Granoff has provided us. A new supporter, the Fernando Salinas Charitable Trust, has provided funding to expand HIPPY into another location in 07-08, and will expand the home instructor team to 4 members.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Met the New Executive Director

Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet Duane B. the new Executive Director of HIPPY USA! He's from Dallas (actually originally from Roswell New Mexico but has been in Dallas many years) and has been working for Dallas Challenge for the past 17 years. What really impressed me about him was his passion for the organization he's worked with and his humble excitement about leading HIPPY. He's personable, intelligent, well spoken and energetic.

Meeting him got me reflecting on past leadership at HIPPY USA, and the two leaders who have, in my opinion, moved us forward the most. First of course, Miriam W. I first met Miriam in Jerusalem at the preservice training for new coordinators. She came back to New York to establish HIPPY USA, and I returned to start HIPPY in Dallas, the first program in Texas. The one word I would use to describe Miriam is visionary. She is also a person who can see both the forest and the trees, as well as the path that goes through them. She was able to build something from scratch with immediate credibility and strength. Our other most influential leader has been Elisabet E. My one word description for Elisabet would be analytical. Elisabet is a person who can see all the parts and how they fit together and work together, even while they are in motion and flux. She was able to take our organization at its most fragile state and strengthen it from the core. I admire both of them so much, on a personal and professional level, and aspire to take the best I've learned from each of them and apply them to our little planet of HIPPY Texas.

I'm eager to see and support the new HIPPY USA, with 90% new staffing, in a new location, in a new state! HIPPY has such a strong base, with excellent programs throughout the nation, research / outcomes, a clearcut program model, a cadre of excellent trainers--I know all these things will allow HIPPY USA to take the time needed to regroup and refocus so we can bring ourselves to a higher level of excellence.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Celebration Season

Maya and Miguel were special guests
at Weiss Elementary as well as other schools in Dallas and Richardson!

Irving Mayor Herbert Gears handing out books
donated by Allstate Insurance to HIPPY Children at the end of year celebration, Irving ISD

It's the time of year in which HIPPY programs all over Texas celebrate the completion of the 30 week curriculum with their families. I had the pleasure of attending several celebrations in the Dallas area. Each one is unique and yet they each.....

  • honor parents and children for their hard work
  • recognize the home visitors for keeping families in the program for the full cycle

  • give parents the opportunity to begin celebrating their child's educational accomplishments
I remember our very first HIPPY celebration. It was the summer of 1988 and we had a picnic at a park in West Dallas. Ricardo and some of the dads fired up the bbq, and parents brought side dishes to share. We had cake and a clown and a photographer. We handed out certificates and then enjoyed a picnic lunch in the blistering heat of a Dallas summer.

Little did I know that 20 YEARS later I would still be involved with this program, and that those 15 families served has grown to 750 families this year and over 17,000 families over the course of 20 years! I am humbled and honored to still be involved in HIPPY and will do everything I can to bring it to more and more families and communities in Texas.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Laredo Launch Year!

Martha and her daughter, during a home visit in Colonia Rio Bravo
I had a chance to see Laredo HIPPY again last week. It was a treat to get to visit with some parents and children both in home visits as well as a meeting at the school. Over 30 parents and their children will be celebrating the completion of the 30 week curriculum cycle! The first year is always an accomplishment!
Many thanks go out to everyone who launched Laredo HIPPY this year! Gracias mil to:
  • The Laredo Foundation
  • Texas A&M International University
  • DD Hachar Foundation
  • United ISD
  • Intercultural Development Research Association

There were many people at each of these organizations who worked countless hours and took a personal interest in the project. We look forward to continuing our work together and bringing HIPPY to many more families in the Laredo area.

Friday, May 18, 2007

El Salvador this Summer!

Snack time at the Montessori Preschool

I have been invited to El Salvador this summer to provide training and technical assistance to HIPPY El Salvador. The project is in collaboration with the Hilda Rothschild Foundation and supports a women's cooperative, a Montessori Preschool and the HIPPY program in a small village approximately 1 hour from San Salvador. I will be posting more information on the project as I get it. For information on the projects of the Hilda Rothschild Foundation in El Salvador see

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

N is for New Grant!

We got the good news that our AmeriCorps proposal was granted for a 3 year period! Congratulations to us!

This means that we have three more years of funding to implement the AmeriCorps model of community service onto the HIPPY model of Parent Involvement and School Readiness. We will have 52 AmeriCorps Members serving in 10 communities across the state. They will be bringing HIPPY to 15-20 families each week, and challenging those parents to not only work with their own child daily but to give back to their communities by volunteering in their child's school.

We're proud to have been selected again, and to be able to continue this work in the community. Thanks to everyone who assisted with the grant proposal and to all the HIPPY Coordinators, Home Visitors, Parents and Children for making us look great!

Friday, May 11, 2007

DVD is in!

(Gina during the filming process!)

The new HIPPY USA DVD I helped work on is in! Featured HIPPY Texans are Gina Esparza, HIPPY Coordinator Administrator from Grand Prairie; Marsela Montes, Irving HIPPY Coordinator, and parents Maria Laguna and Susan Martinez from Irving HIPPY, along with their ADORABLE children....

We're really excited to have had the opportunity to highlight some of our Texas HIPPY programs and families in the new HIPPY USA video. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of identifying families and coordinators and then interviewing them.

This video will be used to make presentations on HIPPY to staff, home visitors, funders, stakeholders and others. We're excited to have this new tool to work with.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Volunteer for Volunteering

Volunteer for Volunteering Table at Half Price Books
Today we hosted a table on volunteering at the Half Price Books flagship store on Northwest Highway. Our goal was to share information on AmeriCorps, HIPPY and Meet Up's volunteering group. We're looking for volunteers who want to make a difference, whether on a one day event or an ongoing committment.

THANKS to volunteers who came out from Meet Up: Faith (pictured above right) and Ruth; and from Richardson HIPPY (Yaneth and Kit), and to Half Price Books for giving us this opportunity! Over 60 million volunteers invested time in the public good sometime last year, according to Department of Labor statistics (

HIPPY is rooted in the volunteer movement. Historically, our program was established by the volunteer organization National Council of Jewish Women ( both at the international, national (US) and at a local level here in Dallas, Austin, Houston, Irving, Richardson and Grand Prairie. AmeriCorps ( has further deepened our volunteer roots and has integrated a volunteer component into our program. Our HIPPY parents are challenged to each volunteer a minimum of 20 hours each school year. And now we're connected with Meet Up, an online social network that brings together people with common interests both online as well as face to face. We're part of the Non Profit Meetup ( and this event was our first collaboration together.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

South / West Regional Conference

(Opening Reception at Medrano Elementary)

We just finished hosting the 1st South/West Regional HIPPY Conference here in Dallas. Over 100 coordinators from Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana and Texas came together to learn and share best practices. Some conference highlights include:
  • Two strands of sessions: Sustainability and Program Management
  • Texas presenters from our HIPPY programs, Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA), Fiesta Foods, University of North Texas, Dallas ISD and more
  • A Table Talk session where participants got to share information on a particular topic and pick up ideas and a handout
  • A fantastic opening reception at a local Dallas ISD and HIPPY school--Medrano Elementary. We had HIPPY children from 6 different elementary schools performing as well as a home visitor from Irving, the Alabama Dream Girls and students from Booker T. Washington High School
  • General sessions on parent involvement as well as A Place of Our Own
  • A moving and motivating closing session with Donna Padron Haddock
  • Super hospitality bags chock full of goodies from Fiesta, Verizon, IDRA, and many other organizations.

The conference was truly a group effort, by the five state HIPPY offices. It was a pleasure to work with such a talented and creative team.

Monday, April 16, 2007

What Are We Building?

Statue honoring the Civilian Conservation Corps workers who built the waterfall, lodge, cabins and welcome center at Devil's Den State Park, Arkansas
In 50 years, the children we are serving this year will be parents of teenagers or maybe even grandparents! Remembering how their own parents worked with them will ensure that they work with their own children. Our legacy is to create a generational cycle of school readiness, school success and parent involvement. There will be no statue, only a new generation of hope.
I went to Devil's Den in April as part of our annual family tradition of camping on Spring Break. As always we had a great time! The facilities at Devil's Den are more than 50 years old and are not only "still standing" but are still beautiful and strong! The workers who built this facility are now in their 70's and older (if they were in their 20's then). I always enjoy visiting sites that were improved by the Civilian Conservation Corps. I feel a special afinity to the CCC because it's a precursor to the Peace Corps and later AmeriCorps which HIPPY is so closely linked with now. This statue made me reflect on what our legacy will be in 50 years and how proud I am to be doing work that will leave such a mark.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Gearing Up for the Big Finish!

Our last big event of the program year is coming up, the HIPPY Regional Conference, which we are hosting here in Dallas. After that, we will be winding the year down with many smaller efforts, including on-site visits to each of our programs, finishing up evaluation efforts for the year, and a volunteer development event held in collaboration with Half Price Books and Meet Up. Yesterday we had our last all-member event with HIPPYCorps members from across the state joining together via video conference to celebrate and share succees stories of their parent involvement efforts for the year. Here's some of what they shared:

  • Volunteering hours have increased this year because members are role modeling volunteer activities in the school, and are giving parents ideas and motivation each week during the home visits.
  • At one school in Austin where there was very little volunteering, three of our HIPPY moms started going in once a week and having coffee at the school then volunteering. Their energy drew the interest of other parents and now the group has grown.
  • A cluster of 4 HIPPY moms at another school are volunteering FULL TIME at their schools now.
  • Special projects with parents included a book drive and distribution in Snyder, a health fair in Irving, and a book fair in Richardson.
Very soon we'll start sending out thank yous to each of our parents who completed 20+ hours of volunteering this school year.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Robin Hood Marketing

Katya Andresen, author of Robin Hood Marketing, spent a half day with HIPPY state directors from Arkansas, Colorado, Nevada and Florida. The day started with networking and professional development among the group, with excellent input from Colorado Parent Child Initiative board member Erica McIntire, Senior Vice-President of Marketing / Communications, at Vectra Bank Colorado. By days end, we had identified ways to hone our message and focus our communication efforts. We plan on working together on shared projects such as materials for parents to work with their children, sharing success stories and increasing our professional knowledge in the area of marking and public relations. We identified another book we'd like to read and discuss together, "Made to Stick" by Chip and Dan Heath. I'll keep you posted on what I learn next!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Stellar Texas Sites

(Maria Herrera of Fort Worth and Miriam Rios of Grand Prairie)
It's "site visit season" and our Texas programs are shining stars! In their first and second year of implementation, HIPPY programs are provided with on-site training and technical assistance in order to successfully implement the HIPPY model.

Begining in the program's third year, HIPPY USA sends a national trainer to assess each site. The trainer observes and assesses each component of the HIPPY program on site. Observations and documentation review is done on the implementation of the HIPPY training, use of the curriculum, home visits, group meetings, outreach and collaboration and organization of files and documentation.

A Self Assessment and Validation Instrument (SAVI) is used to identify programmatic strengths and weaknesses as well as the site's fidelity to the HIPPY model. This site visit takes up to three days and results in a report on each program component, including the site's self assessment and the trainer's assessment. Based on the trainer's assessment a report is written and submitted to HIPPY USA for review. HIPPY USA then designates some programs as "Stellar".

We're so proud of ALL our Texas HIPPY programs, and particularly want to congratulate our newly designated Stellar Sites:

  • Yolanda Smith, Dallas

  • Jessica Flores, Dallas

  • Kathy White, Snyder

  • Miriam Rios, Grand Prairie

And, our existing Stellar sites:

  • Pamela Payton, Dallas
    Marcela Montes and Joe Gloria, Irving

  • Kit Prince and Maria Loera, Richardson

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Celebrating our Stars

Celebrating our Stars
Originally uploaded by carlamarieweir.
On Thursday and Friday we had our annual get together of HIPPY home instructors and coordinators, we call it the HIPPY Rally. It was a power packed day and a half with intensive hands-on workshops and a powerful closing speaker.

The first day the Friends of Texas HIPPY (Advisory Group) met, and then joined the opening of the Rally to meet the home visitors and coordinators. We began with our celebration of the home visitors who have taken steps in furthering their education. Each of these home visitors (photo above) received a photo frame, and I told them that it was for the picture of them accepting a diploma whether that is their High School Equivalency, a certificate of completion for an ESL course or their college degree. The remainder of the day was an intensive goal setting session with Lucy Cantu. That evening, we had a team building dinner at the Latino Cultural Center, sharing and learning from an art exhibit on 13 Latina artists. Friday was an all day session with Public Allies focusing on how to develop leadership and involvement in the parents that we serve. The closing speaker, Donna Haddock Padron spoke on "Never Giving Up" and shared her personal story of overcoming abuse.

Thanks to everyone who participated in and supported the Texas HIPPY Rally!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Accepting the Crystal!

Accepting the Crystal!
Originally uploaded by carlamarieweir.
Last night Texas HIPPY accepted the Crystal Award from the Texas Association for Partners in Education! Attending the ceremony from Snyder ISD were Ana Montoya, HIPPY Home Instructor; Diana Arrellano, HIPPY Home Instructor and Kathy White, HIPPY Coordinator; Carla Weir from Texas HIPPY and the presentation was made by a representative from Washington Mutual.

It was exciting to get to meet both educators and representatives from many Texas corporations and businesses who are giving time and money to support education in Texas.

We're proud and honored to have been recognized with the Crystal Award in the category of Texas Collegiate Partnership with a small school district (Snyder ISD).

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Congratulations David and Mara

David Tisdale, Texas HIPPYCorps Coordinator, got married last weekend in a beautiful ceremony, to Mara Cuban. We were so happy to be there to witness on one of the coldest days in Texas this year. Now he and Mara are enjoying a balmy honeymoon in Costa Rica. Congratulations!

The picture above shows me and my family with David and Mara (l-r, Ricardo Weir, Sofia Weir, Mara Cuban, David Tisdale, Carla Weir, and Hannah Weir).

And below is Micheal, his wife Ligia (YMCA AmeriCorps) and Susan (Texas HIPPYCorps), ie. the AmeriCorps table!