Holly Chavez created H2 Academic Solutions, a K-12th grade tutoring center, six years ago with a vision of helping Valencia County youth attain academic success. The Belen-based academic center also offers camps and intensive reading programs. While there is a cost for tutoring, Ms. Chavez, a former teacher, also created a nonprofit to raise money and help defray the costs.
While helping students, Ms. Chavez and her daughter/business partner, Holly Noelle Chavez, became aware of a state grant for a Reception and Assistance Center (RAC), which works to help challenged and at-risk youth ages 10-17. The program works with youth who are referred to RAC to identify programs and services that could benefit youth and their families. RAC employees identify services using a computer-based analysis test for youth who have drug or alcohol addictions, gang affiliations, suicidal tendencies, truancy problems, or food and housing deficiencies to avoid school attendance issues or police contact.
In addition to RAC, the academic center, which has 12 employees, has received contracts to provide support to organizations such as the Girls’ Circle and Boys’ Council. These programs allow preteens and teens to come together to focus on healthy lifestyles and relationships using a scripted program targeting very specific topics relating to real life issues facing youth.
“The Loan Fund has been a lifesaver for me,” Holly Chavez said. “The Loan Fund has had an impact for us to be able to expand and make a huge impact in the community. We have served hundreds of kids over the years that have needed these services. We like to think we’ve made a difference with that funding.”
Soon Ms. Chavez will be opening up a teen center in partnership with the Belen School District to provide counseling services and a positive atmosphere before teens get in trouble.
The growth from a tutoring center wasn’t exactly what Ms. Chavez had initially envisioned, but she’s glad to fill various youth needs in the community.
“I always thought we’d stay strictly in education. My business partner said we need so much more here, and we’ve developed both programs side by side and added all those social support programs,” she said. “It’s grown into something much bigger, much more community involved than I ever would have thought.”
When she first started the business, Ms. Chavez, who had a significant savings and a great credit score, said she was shocked that a bank wouldn’t give her financing because she didn’t have prior business experience. But she was glad The Loan Fund came through to help purchase the academic building and then provide a line of credit to help pay for employees before the state grant came in.
“The Loan Fund has been a lifesaver for me. The Loan Fund has had an impact for us to be able to expand and make a huge impact in the community. We have served hundreds of kids over the years that have needed these services. We like to think we’ve made a difference with that funding.”
Her advice to other small business owners looking to achieve their dreams is to seek out small business services such as the New Mexico Small Business Development Center, which helped her and her husband get organized, aid in doing the research necessary before starting on the entrepreneurial path and find funding sources.