Cherie Garces tells her story of returning to her Cincinnati elementary school as an art teacher, where her passion is to help children make something beautiful that comes from within them. She knows how important it is to cultivate individual expression from her lifetime of practice as a painter, teacher, and various other roles she’s stepped into over the years to make ends meet while her dreams unfolded.
She described why it made a difference to be in partnership with FII. “If we are capable of learning how to utilize those FII resources and information we can spread that knowledge to other individuals to broaden our cohorts and FII’s influence on economic empowerment, financial growth, and education.”
Vashti Rutledge, FII-Cincinnati Director doesn’t see this idea as new. “FII exists so that we can say, this is what happens when families work together and support each other. It’s a way of reconnecting us with our past, because before there was a social service sector, families supported one another to get by.”
“FII is trying to show what is possible. When we trust and invest in families, with a fairly modest investment our families are able to leverage that support into bigger and better outcomes,” Rutledge said. “The families in Cincinnati are an incredibly dynamic group of folks. They are single. They are married. They are black, white and Latino. They are working incredibly hard, but the wages that they bring in are not enough to sustain them in a way that allows them to thrive. Our families are surviving, but we want to see them thrive.”