Helen Torres gets recognition for helping this college reach out to parents in the community.
Parental network coordinator Helen Torres was inducted into the Hall of Fame for Edgewood Independent School District Nov. 8 at a banquet that raised money for teaching grants and scholarships.
The banquet honored outstanding community members.
The Hall of Fame started in 1982 and currently has 72 members. One of the most recognized members is local chef and restaurant owner Johnny Hernandez.
Torres was nominated because of her work with the inner city community and her leadership at this college, she said.
“I feel very honored and proud,” she said Dec. 7 in an interview. “I am getting recognized for a job I love to do.”
Torres has held different positions and titles at this college. She served as director of distance education, which was responsible for the establishment of online classes at this college. She also worked as program manager of the business and industry center, which housed continuing education classes.
Torres received a bachelor’s degree from University of Pennsylvania in urban planning and graduated with honors. She then attended Trinity University where she obtained a master’s degree in urban studies and won the American Planning Association Award for Outstanding Thesis. Torres also attended the Leadership Institute at Harvard University in 1995 and 2017.
Torres has implemented programs such as the Parent Leadership Academy, which teaches parents to be more involved in the academic life of their children.
“Parents see nothing but obstacles, and that is what the academy is for,” she said. “Teaching parents to overcome any obstacles they or their kids could have.”
Torres also conducts success-guided talks with parents at Bowden Elementary. These talks are simple lessons that teach parents about education and how to help their children prepare for college while they are in elementary school.
These talks also include tips on financial issues and help with budgeting and spending, Torres said.
“Parents do not know how much they are spending until they see it written out on paper,” Torres said. “They laugh about how much more they spend compared to how much they make, but I know they take it seriously.”
Torres plans to start a nutrition class for parents, not so much for the cooking part of it, but for the relationships, she said.
“There is something about food and talking,” she said. “Parents will come and learn about nutrition, make some dishes and in the process of that, they will talk and I will listen to their problems.”