October 27, 2014  |  Boston & CambridgeEducation

FII-Boston Group Works Towards Goals – And Helps Others Achieve Their Own

At the Family Independence Initiative (FII), we believe that there is nothing like the power of coming together to make things happen. Vale La Pena Soñar (It’s Worth Dreaming, or VLPS) is an all-women FII-Boston group that shares this belief—and this month, they’ve helped seven middle- and high-school students take one more step towards achieving a college education.

This past January, Alba Preciado told her VLPS cohort about a recent family trip to Antioquia, Colombia. Alba told them about a Christmas party that she, her family, and the community had hosted for over 160 orphaned children, and she showed them pictures of the kids receiving gifts like toys and school supplies, all collected by the community.

It was this idea of giving back to the community that inspired VLPS to not only work on their personal goals for the year, but also create opportunities to help others.

One of such opportunity came from Margarita Restrepo, a VLPS member, who new about a nonprofit program called Gente del Futuro (People of the Future), which gives high-performing students in Colombia a chance to visit U.S. college campuses and get inspired about furthering their education.

Holiday party in Colombia, organized by VLPS group member
Holiday party in Colombia, organized by VLPS group member

Upon deciding to work with Gente del Futuro, VLPS set a simple but essential goal: to help pay for the pre-selected students’ passports so they could tour college campuses in the United States this year.

With this in mind, VLPS held two bingo fundraisers in March and October of this year. On top of spending quality time together playing bingo, friends and family raised more than $800 total, exceeding their fundraising goal.

Now Paola, Karol, Paula, Marta, Carlos Jose, Emanuel, and Alejandro, ages 10-16, are touring college campuses in New England and New York City, as well as visiting museums and other tourist attractions.

The fun won’t stop there. With the extra money from fundraising, VLPS is also planning on buying costumes for the students and taking them trick-or-treating on Halloween, a true American tradition.

Outside this initiative, VLPS is also committed to their own children’s education. The group supports one another to save money, research school and financial aid options, and help their own children go to college in the near future, some as early as spring 2015.

High-performing students visiting the U.S.
High-performing students visiting the U.S.

“Through our work together at VLPS, we’ve all become very close,” says Margarita Restrepo, the member who connected the group to Gente del Futuro. “We communicate well and have a lot of respect for one another.”

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