WESLACO - From out of the mesquite brush lands of Camp Thicket, located just a few miles from the U.S./Mexico border in Weslaco, Mary Moreno of Edcouch is learning to communicate with her daughter at a retreat sponsored by The University of Texas-Pan American Mother Daughter Program.
"We have always had a hard time talking with each other," Moreno said while attending the program's Winter Retreat the last weekend in January. "There was like an invisible wall between us. At the end of each day, I would be on one side of the house and she would be on the other. We were lucky if we spoke three words to each other."
But according to Moreno, ever since she and her daughter joined the UTPA Mother Daughter Program a couple of years ago, a new relationship has begun to flourish between the two.
"We've learned through communication to trust and understand each other," Moreno said. "The process is slow, but to have such a wonderful relationship with my daughter is well worth it."
Moreno has discovered that she isn't the only mother who has experienced communication problems with their daughters. More than 25 mother-daughter teams from across the Rio Grande Valley gathered at Camp Thicket also in the hopes of developing a richer, fuller family relationship.
Anna De La Cruz, a mother from Edinburg who also attended the retreat, said the program has offered her a very valuable opportunity.
"They have given me the opportunity to really get to know my daughter," De La Cruz said. "I always wanted my daughter to feel like she could come to me whenever she had a problem, and in this program we are learning how to develop this kind of relationship."
De La Cruz's daughter Noemi, a freshman at Edinburg High School, agreed with her mother.
"We really started opening up to each other last year," Noemi said. "We were in tears when we first started the program. There is a lot of fun and sharing involved, and now I see my mother as more of a friend."
During their day and a half at the Methodist Camp Thicket Retreat, the mothers and daughters from the UTPA program spent quality time communicating one to one and tackling vital issues such as togetherness, teenage pressures and trust.
According to Lisa Ann Farias, associate director of the Mother Daughter Program at UTPA, the purpose of the program is to provide intervention for young women, eighth grade through twelfth grade, and their mothers.
"These people take their family seriously," Farias said. "The Mother Daughter Program goals are to provide educational support services for pre-high school and pre-college academic development, as well as to develop a lifelong learning philosophy for mothers and daughters as the young women pursue their academic careers."
"This program has been a blessing to my family," said Anna De La Cruz. "I only wish I could have had the same kind of relationship with my own mother I am developing with my daughter."
For more information about the UTPA Mother Daughter Program, contact Farias at 956/381-2153.