MERCEDES — Dr. Martha A. Cantu touched down at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport with her team like superheroes ready to save the world.

They arrived at the nation’s capital carrying knowledge intended to help parents from all over the United States.

The GEAR UP parents were there to participate in the Parent Leadership Institute training designed to help prepare children for success in high school, college and beyond. It all happened at the annual conference called the 2018 National Council for Community and Education Partnerships and Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs.

“We made sure that the parents participating in the institute understood that their child will need them more than ever as they embark on their college journey,” said Cantu, Texas Valley Communities Foundation Executive Director for College and Career Readiness. “Parents were grateful to receive the information.”

The event was held last month.

The theme of the two-day conference was Calling All Superheroes, suggesting that is what parents are to children.

Nearly 100 parents from across the country walked away with a resource guidebook filled with information to help their children be successful in high school and college.

“Students now know how to get into college, but sometimes they don’t know what it takes to stay in college,” Cantu said. “Parents left the conference equipped with information on how to help their children persist in high school and college.”

The guidebook each parent received was developed by the Mercedes-based nonprofit Texas Valley Communities Foundation for its parent training program called Parent Leadership Institute.

The foundation was invited back for the fourth time to present its parent training guide at the annual conference.

Cantu said the information was eye-opening for the parents.

Each parent walked away with insight into what their child’s future can look like with their help.

“We introduced parents to different tools that help their children make wise decisions,” Cantu said. “And where to find information regarding various universities students are interested in.”

Cantu described the training as exciting, interactive and informative, all in one.

“No matter if they transition from middle school to high school or high school to the university, parents are always going to play a vital role in the lives of their children,” Cantu said. “We teach them a lot about the college-going process and what parents can do to help their children build the skills to be independent and self sufficient.”