In the March Lake Highlands Advocate we wrote about how homeowners in neighborhoods such as Lake Highlands, East Dallas and Preston Hollow can assist residents of neighboring community Vickery Meadow, which is perhaps Dallas’ highest density and most crime-ridden neighborhood. It is home to 36,000 people, many of them school-aged children.

We visited Hotchkiss Elementary, a DISD school in the Lake Highlands area that offers the Avance program. Avance holds preschool for children — Vickery Meadow is shockingly lacking in preschools — and classes for parents.

A 24-year old mom told us that Avance changed her life and the way she values her family.

“The most important thing I learned in Avance is that I am my child’s first teacher,” Paula Sanchez says, “and that you only have one life to enjoy time with your children. Now we spend time together. I read to them. I never used to do that. I realize now that they need me.”

Avance has programs in several DISD schools.

A volunteer at another Vickery Meadow school for adults told us that those in neighboring areas have not only an opportunity but also an obligation to help the Vickery Meadow families where possible.

“They are our neighbors,” volunteer teacher Liz Luthans says, “yet some [neighborhood residents] are afraid to even drive through Vickery Meadow. I live by the belief that if you ‘teach a man to fish, he can eat forever’.”

She says her work as a volunteer is immensely rewarding and that she learns as much from her students as they learn from her.

Volunteer opportunities
Vickery Meadow Learning Center: Amy Glover at 214.265.5057 ext. 12
Vickery Meadow Improvement District: 214.265.8285 or
Vickery Meadow Youth Development Foundation: Martha Stowe 214.443.7985
Eagle Scholars: Sherril English at 214.768.8402, or
Avance: Anne Thomas at 214.887.9907, ext. 115, or

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