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.

McAllen Business Inspired By Prayer & Service

The smiles on the faces of Jeanie Rowell and Ann Gamblin of The Lamb’s Loom in McAllen say it all. This little piece of heaven is, indeed, their Happy Place.

In thinking of entrepreneurs, we usually envision individuals who take on the risk of establishing a business because they have a product or service, which they believe potential customers want, knowing if they are correct it will lead to personal financial gain. The ladies who established The Lamb’s Loom felt the same way, though the personal gain they sought had nothing to do with money. For 14 years, these ladies…

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One Door Closes, Another VIDA Opens

Etta King has a better life for her and her children thanks in part to VIDA.

Life was good for Etta King when she moved to Weslaco in 2011 from Lake Tahoe, Cali. Five years later, her world turned upside down. Her husband left, creditors repossessed her car and eviction forced her to move from their home to a small apartment. With no money, she had to attend divorce court without legal representation. Her only family in the Valley consisted of her two sons and daughter.…

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Edinburg Agent Perseveres Through Challenges

Priscilla Cavazos took her first job in the insurance industry at the age of 18, not imagining herself one day owning her own agency.

When 18-year-old Priscilla Cavazos walked through the doors of Fred Loya Insurance in 2003 to begin her new job, little did she know that 18 years later, she would walk into another insurance office every day.  This office is in Edinburg and bears her name – Priscilla Cavazos Insurance Agency. At the time, Cavazos also did not realize the role that first insurance job would play in shaping her future.…

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A Life Is Turned Around with VIDA

Maria Delgado

Each month, VBR shines a spotlight on a current participant or a graduate of Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement. VIDA’s mission is to simultaneously address the need for skilled works in the Valley while preparing unemployed and underemployed residents for high-skill, high-wage jobs. This month, the spotlight is on Maria Delgado. The story is written in her words just prior to her graduation in December 2020, which will provide…

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Entrepreneur Finds Inspiration In Faith 

The Milagros are pinned to crosses, religious statues, hearts and other forms, and each charm symbolizes a specific request of saints.

Mari Rodriguez accepted a job with Central Power and Light and moved to the Rio Grande Valley in 1994. She thought it would be only for a year. Her plan did not include meeting a pharmacist from San Antonio named Cecilio who had also moved to the Valley. Mari would not return to Corpus Christi, where she lived previously. Mari and Cecilio would walk down the aisle. The couple then…

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Never Too Late to Seek a Brighter Future

Jose M. Gutierrez

For 10 years, Mercedes native Jose M. Gutierrez worked for Dollar Tree, earning the titles of store manager and district trainer. But four years ago, despite his success with the company, Gutierrez felt a sense of discontent. He began exploring the possibility of going to college and changing his career path. Gutierrez enrolled in evening class at the South Texas College Mid-Valley Campus in Weslaco. Two years later, after completing…

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Villas Offer New Housing Concept With Technology

Various elevations demonstrate how future residents of Villas on Freddy can customize their homes. (Courtesy)

Twenty-seven-year-old Nick Rhodes, the president of Esperanza Homes, moved to the Rio Grande Valley six years ago. Two years later, he applied for Leadership McAllen Class 36 and was selected. Throughout the course of the year, Rhodes and his Leadership-McAllen classmates learned about the multi-faceted city from both a historical and present-day perspective while also learning about each other.  “Many in our group, some single and some married with no…

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From Restaurant Cook to Patient Care

Juan de la Rosa

Juan de la Rosa of Donna was working as a cook at Longhorn Steakhouse when he decided to pursue a career in a high-demand field where he could earn more money while helping people. He decided to enroll at South Texas College in the Patient Care Technician Program. In this program, de la Rosa knew he would also be taught entry-level skills in phlebotomy, EKG and monitor technician. While enrolling…

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Former Officer Finds New Life In Business

Though they appear to be common household items, each of these is actually a diversion safe.

Ric Tamez moved back home to McAllen in the early 1980s after working for Kroger in Corpus Christi. He soon realized he should have secured a job before returning.  “I was young and stupid, and before long, I was desperate,” Tamez said.  He moved back in with his parents with only $200 to his name when he received a job offer to work as a teller at Texas State Bank. That…

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Army Vet Feels Secure on Path to Success

Bardo Rubio

When Bardo Rubio completed his commitment to the U.S. Army, he enlisted in the Army Reserve. He knew he would need to do more than work one weekend a month to achieve his life goals. During the summer of 2018, shortly after he returned from active duty, Rubio encountered two Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement employees promoting the agency’s services at South Texas College. Rubio, who wanted to go…

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