During our 20th Anniversary Celebration, our speakers took us through a 20 year journey through their own perspectives. Follow along as we go down memory lane!


“Meanwhile, as students like Arianna pursued their college degrees, Breakthrough began to plot how else they would expand across Central Texas. That’s when in 2014, Breakthrough officially began working in Northeast Austin ISD and founded the Breakthrough Internship Network – although back then it was called Future Focus.

Hello everyone, my name is Renata Gonzalez Ibarra. I was part of that first cohort of students in Northeast Austin, and one of the first interns to participate in the Internship Network.

Truth be told, it was my mother who got excited about me joining during my sixth grade year. I think she found it empowering to see me enjoy opportunities she could not – to join an organization that would support me as I became a first-generation college graduate,

I stumbled onto Breakthrough in my sixth grade library, and now after all these years, I’m a junior at Texas State, majoring in Business Management with a minor in Art. In that time, I’ve been a Breakthrough student, I’ve spoken on behalf of the program, I’ve served as a Teaching Fellow – I’ve tried to give back because I am so grateful to this community for all it has done for me.

When I hesitated to apply to the Internship Network because of this fact, my Breakthrough Advisor, Claudia Ochoa, reached out and asked where I wanted to serve. I said, “simple: I want to intern with y’all as a Teaching Fellow.” The next day at 9 am, she called back and asked me to come in for training. I’ve never stood up from bed so fast in my life!

That internship experience, that validation, that opportunity to serve alongside the community that had done so much for me – it goes to show that Breakthrough has always, and will always, be there. Over the next few years, they expanded to Del Valle and continued to support students just like me. And to think, I started on this journey when I wandered into a library in Northeast Austin almost 10 years ago. I’m so glad I made it there that day, and I’m so glad I’m here now. Thank you.

Since 2002, Breakthrough has been inspired by students and their families to reshape the future of Central Texas: A place and time where all students can experience the life-changing power of a college degree. As we celebrate this milestone anniversary, we also celebrate you! We are grateful for each member of the  Breakthrough family who has played a role in  advancing our mission, and we invite you to follow us throughout the year as we highlight inspiring examples of determination and accomplishment.