Author Archives: Chris Ardis

Chris Ardis is a retired teacher. She is a freelance writer, editor, and social media manager and works with Tony Roma's and Macaroni Grill to help schools and nonprofit organizations raise money. Chris is also an education blogger, and you can her blog at the link below. You can reach her at cardis1022@aol.com.

Faith Inspires Launch Of Blessings Box

Kim Edwards-Garza holds her premier Overflow of Blessings Box.

Most mornings, while enjoying a cup of coffee, Kim Edwards-Garza spends this quiet time before her workday with God. “I fill up my soul with His Word, and it enables me to tackle any problem or stress I may have that day,” she said.  Born and raised in McAllen, and a graduate of Memorial High School, Edwards-Garza earned a degree in marketing at St. Edward’s University in Austin. She later…

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A Comeback Greater Than The Setbacks

Adela Tann

Adela Tann had her future all figured out. She completed the Patient Care Technician program at South Texas College in 2013 and enrolled in the college’s Vocational Nursing program, graduating in 2015. Next on her list was earning the title of registered nurse. But before she could pass the National Council Licensure Examination, Tann moved to Iowa to help care for her sister, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer. In…

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ICED CUBE Mirrors Flavor Of The RGV

The ICED CUBE Strawberry Supreme Raspa begins with any snow cone flavor. Vanilla ice cream, fresh strawberries, and sweet cream are added to create this supreme raspa.

At 16, Eliza Garza’s father ignited the raspa flame within her. Her dad saw that South Padre Island needed a raspa stand. He believed his family could run it every summer. Garza carried that flame with her as she finished high school and worked as an event planner, fundraiser, energy broker and idea generator. Last year, a friend of Garza’s took charge of the Beach Resort at South Padre Island…

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Making the Impossible Possible

Jorge Sanchez thought he had the perfect plan in place after graduating from high school. He earned a scholarship to St. Edward’s University in Austin, where he planned to major in biology with a concentration in biological sciences. But as he calculated the cost for tuition, room and board, and books, Sanchez realized this plan did not make financial sense. “Even though I was given a scholarship to study at…

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Retired Teachers Find Calling In Vintage

Former McAllen ISD teachers Debbie Garcia and Alicia Garza are now living their retirement dream as owners of Treasures From The Attic & Co.

Debbie Garcia and Alicia Garza met at a neighborhood block sale on Nyssa Avenue in McAllen over 15 years ago. It was a chance encounter neither guessed would lead to a sisterly friendship and a business partnership. That is exactly what happened. The two women already had a few things in common when they met. Both were teachers in the McAllen school district. Garcia was an English teacher at DeLeon…

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Overcoming Adversity for a Better VIDA

Eva Alvarado

When the staff at Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement think of Eva Alvarado, two words come to mind: perseverance and resilience. Alvarado is a divorced mother of three, two who are adults and now live on their own. Her youngest, a 14-year-old son, lives with her in Brownsville. Two years ago, her youngest was diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, dyslexia and autism. Alvarado quit working because he required all…

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Using 956 Designs To Send Positivity

Part of Dalinda Gonzalez-Alcantar’s original “956” design with two of her latest designs, Sacred Reina and Justicia.

Dalinda Gonzalez-Alcantar felt the frustration growing during the 2015 presidential campaign as she listened to depictions of the Rio Grande Valley. During that time, she tuned into a National Public Radio series about the border. “Obese, crime-infested, dirty. It wasn’t the home I’ve known,” Gonzalez-Alcantar said of the descriptions of her region. “This is why we haven’t given ourselves permission to be proud of where we live. We have a right…

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Path Leads to Becoming the IT It Guy

Jose Cavazos

When Jose Cavazos’s co-worker at Barcom Technology Services in Harlingen told him they had a service call at the Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement office in Mercedes, he felt a sense of both nostalgia and excitement. Cavazos had considered stopping in VIDA’s former office in Weslaco several times, but it was always closed by the time he got out of work. “As soon as we walked into the building,”…

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Student Project Helps Women In Need

The front side of Knitted Knockers, which come in different sizes based on the woman’s bra-cup size.

McAllen ISD International Baccalaureate junior Gaby Markle learned to crochet during the summer of 2020.  “My grandma tried to teach me, but I am left-handed, so she gave me a book and a link to a YouTube video to learn,” Markle said. “I was not very good, so I wanted to create a club to improve and to get others involved.”  Rather than establishing an official school club, which means…

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From Catch-22 To A Successful Career

Sometimes life plunges us into a classic catch-22. That is exactly where Cesar Romero found himself. Working as a nurse technician, Romero was earning $11 an hour. In order to increase his income, he applied to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Learning that the program required full-time-student status peppered his joy at being accepted. He could not afford to pay…

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