Since 1980 Dr. Fuentes has been developing a model to improve the performance of children in poverty. Through the years since becoming a teacher in 1971, she had seen that results could occur if there were a belief in children in poverty succeed rather than a deficit approach which seemed to permeate much of their education. As the years progressed, alignment and deliberate instruction were other mitigating factors. Finally, the exciting approach of constantly challenging children who normally were mostly treated as “pobrecitos” or educators having pity for children in poverty.
In 2004 Dr. Fuentes developed a preschool that tested the model. With the support of Monsignor Treviso at St. John Catholic School, 6 children enrolled in August and by December there were 50. Here Guadalupana spirituality was added to the model. This brought core values to strengthen families and children to persevere. The success of these children was amazing both in intellectual development as well as spiritual. Families were changed and many of the children went on to college with strong academic backgrounds.
In 2011 Dr. Fuentes gathered a group of like-minded people who like herself had overcome adversities. These were professional people who knew the path to success. For two years, this talented group of people have been creating an organization to establish Herencia Guadalupana Lab Schools in the poverty neighborhood in Tucson, Arizona. The hope is to change the mindset of how children and families in poverty are educated and to bring productive compassionate leaders into the mainstream of our economy and society.