Mom of three: “I thought I didn’t have a choice.” - Families Empowered

Mom of three: “I thought I didn’t have a choice.”

Families Empowered
Empowered Parent Stories

When her 8-year-old daughter began to complain about crowded busses and bullying, Maria Sanchez knew she wanted to find other school options. It wasn’t long before her daughter started asking to move to another school, and Maria’s search intensified.

“The work that Families Empowered does is a huge help,” Maria said. “As a parent I only know of the schools that I’m zoned to, I didn’t know of any other schools in my area. I wasn’t aware that there were any other options. I didn’t think I had a choice.”

Maria requested support from Families Empowered and with this help, began learning more about other school options for her girls. After hearing about the experiences that some of her family members had as KIPP parents, she decided to apply.

“I chose KIPP because of their disciplinary system,” Maria said. “That’s what was important to me because of the concerns my daughter had voiced.”

Today, each of Maria’s daughters attend different schools, based on their own unique needs. Her 8-year-old Carolina loves drama and now attends KIPP in Austin, while her 10-year-old, Maria attends her zoned public elementary school where she gets the most out of the classroom environment and loves interacting with her friends. 11-year-old Yoana is in the 6th grade at her zoned public school and enjoys the opportunities she has to play sports.

“I want my girls to know that whatever they set their mind to they can achieve,” Maria explained. “I want them to grow up independently, and as a parent it is my goal for them to have all of the opportunities I didn’t have growing up.”

Motivating her daughters to succeed is what drives Maria each day as a parent.

“It’s important to encourage their growth and to motivate them to keep pushing,” Maria said. “My advice to parents is to be as involved as possible – even when they don’t want you there. I want them to see that I participate, and I am there for them.”

Maria has learned that regardless of resources or language, school choice is something that is available to every family. “I’m grateful to Families Empowered for helping a parent like me, who has limited resources and limited English, in finding other options for my kids. You took the time to help me and for that I’m thankful,” Maria said.

KIPP, the Knowledge Is Power Program, is on a mission to develop in underserved students the academic skills, intellectual habits, and qualities of character necessary to succeed at all levels of pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, college, and the competitive world beyond. To learn more about enrollment at KIPP please visit