WACO, Texas — Transformation Waco, a local non-profit organization, earned a $2.5M federal grant to support its Community Alliance project.
The non-profit works with Waco ISD schools labeled "Improvement Required" by the Texas state accountability system.
With the help of other partners like Waco Family Medicine, Waco Police Department, Prosper Waco, Waco Housing Authority and Inspiracion Waco, the organization says it will be able to build on current programs and expand other programs to provide more resources for students and parents.
"What's great about this grant is that it's providing a mix of support to expand existing programs that we already have and provides some some new programming," Chief Communications Officer Josh Wucher said.
Wucher says this is an exciting time to be a Transformation Waco team member. He says this is a hard earned award that only two Texas organizations received.
Eloisa Cruz Arredondo, a program specialist with Inspiracion Waco, says she couldn't believe it when she heard the news about the grant.
"It's very exciting," she said. "Whenever I found out you know, that Transformation Waco was awarded this amount of money I think my eyes just went wow."
Cruz Arredondo is in charge of the parent teaching program which helps primarily Latino parents prepare for sending their kids to school in Waco and building healthy parenting habits at home.
She says the program currently operates Monday to Thursday and most parents say they want more opportunities to go to more classes.
"That's the biggest thing I hear from the parents," she said. "They get to go to two and a half hours of classes a week, but they always say they want to go to even more."
Now with more money in the program, they'll be able to have classes on Friday and give parents more opportunities for classes.
"It takes a village to raise a child and for a family, a Hispanic family specifically to be able to come into a place where people look like them where people speak the language that they speak I think it it goes a long way," Cruz Arredondo said.
Wucher says it's an honor and a privilege to know their hard work in Waco is being recognize on a national level.
"It's great to know on a federal level that we are one of two organizations within Texas and 42 among the country that are being awarded this full service community schools grant," Wucher said. "And that the US Department of Education sees the work that we and other organizations like us that are community school based models are doing that kind of work."