Mom gets degree thanks to daycare center owner

Pam helped this mother of three earn her degree from UTPA

The owner of Littlefoot Daycare in Mission is credited with helping a mom achieve her dream of earning a college degree.

Sandra Pacheco wants to Pay it 4Ward.

"Without you, you know it would have taken a long time for me to accomplish things that I've accomplished like graduating from Pan Am and becoming a teacher," Sandra told Pam.

Sandra surprised Pam at the facility with Action 4 News and GEF Financial by her side.

"You've taken care of all three of my kids and without you, I wouldn't have found anyone else who's done the awesome job that you've done for my kids," she added. "I wanted to thank you. I wanted to Pay it 4Ward."

Pam Torres didn't just extend her hours or work late into the night to provide free daycare for Sandra's children, she also became a second mother to her three kids.

Photos show Pam at birthday celebrations, holiday events and even giving a speech at the family's Quinceanera.

Sandra has been a successful teacher for about a decade in the Mission CISD.

Their relationship still remains strong.

Ricardo Filizola and Karen Gonzalez with GEF Financial Agency want to reward Pam's kindness.

"We believe that the only people you should ever get even with are the people who help you," Ricardo told Pam. "And you have helped Sandra incredibly."

Karen asks Pam to put out her hand.

"On behalf of GEF Financial and Action 4 News here's $400," she says while handing her the cash.

"Thank you so much," Pam says while crying. "I'm stunned. I'm just shocked. I didn't expect this. I didn't expect this Ryan."

Pam knows what it's like to struggle.

She had to give up school to care for her parents.

"I had to work," she explained to Action 4's Ryan Wolf. "And I told her your education is very important Sandra. Keep going. I'm here to help. She was young and I told her, don't worry, go to school. I'll help you with your daughter till 8 or 9 o'clock at night. It doesn't matter. You don't have to pay me I told her. I want you to get educated."

Pam says the award won't stop her from helping others as she's done for the last 18 years.

Ryan asks her to make one more promise.

"Promise me that this money will be used for you," he said.

"Yes," she said with a big smile. "It's for me. It's for me. Thank you so much everyone."

The Pay it 4Ward prize couldn't have come at a better time.

Pam says enrollment numbers are down this year at her daycare facility.

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