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National study shows impact of VIDA

The Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement (VIDA) is one of nine organizations that was selected to be evaluated under the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE).

The Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement (VIDA) is one of nine organizations that was selected to be evaluated under the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE).

Findings from the study were revealed Wednesday morning at South Texas College’s Pecan Campus.

Project coordinator for PACE, Karen Gardiner, said an experimental study design was used to measure the level of impact VIDA has made to meet the needs of low-income students and employers.

"Using an experimental study design which is similar to a clinical trial where people are assigned either to participate in the program or to receive services elsewhere,” said Gardiner.

VIDA graduate, San Juanita Sanchez says the program has helped her pursue a social work degree after graduating from high school more than 20 years ago.

"They helped me with college prep, meaning they basically refreshed everything: Reading, writing, math," said Sanchez. "For me, to be able to enter and take the entrance college exam.”

Gardiner believes the support and weekly counseling sessions that VIDA requires their students to attend is a huge contribution to the success of the program.

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa was the guest speaker at Wednesday’s event and explains his reasons behind why VIDA continues to thrive.

"I think the findings really show how successful it is," said Hinojosa. "We fund the necessary programs that go into the barrios, go to the communities where we take people who are in poverty, and empower them by allowing them to gain the skills to be employable and support their families."

Sanchez will be graduating with her bachelor’s degree in social work at the University of Texas this fall.

For more information about VIDA, you can contact them at 956-903-1900 .

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