by Jessica Withers, National Narrative Shifter, FII-Greater Boston
FII Site: Chicago
Gabrielle was born in a small area in Alabama. Over a year ago, Gabrielle moved to Chicago alone for the opportunity to finish medical school. She said, “I was moderately surprised at the cost of living and the socioeconomic divide that is clearly defined in geographical boundaries.” Gabrielle was seeking a financial and supportive breakthrough and was looking for a push that would help her build her future. With high expectations of FII, Gabrielle went to an info session and the rest was history.
Gabrielle joined FII in April of 2019. She was introduced to FII by a friend who she met at a community center resource fair. Gabrielle was introduced to FII as “being an aid to families and community.” That idea is what prompted Gabrielle to attend an info session.
Gabrielle refers to FII’s UpTogether funds as “just in time funds.” Gabrielle used her first distribution of funds to purchase a new laptop, which came “just in time” because her old laptop was running its course. Gabrielle also used her funds for unexpected expenses.
The UpTogether platform was one of the resources that Gabrielle did not expect to enjoy. Gabrielle describes the UpTogether platform as “motivational, reassuring to connect with other individuals in and outside the state that share individual and common goals and ideals.”
Gabrielle’s fondest experiences thus far in her early journey with FII is the diversity of individuals who possess individual strengths, which makes the family partner meetings “rich and loaded with resources”.
“I would recommend FII to anyone who is looking for community. The stipend is great, but nothing can surpass the richness of community and ample resources available in our cohorts.”
Gabrielle’s one consistent goal is to complete her lifelong dream of becoming a physician. She stated, “FII has given me some financial and supportive freedom to see this dream to fruition.”
The National Narrative Shifters are FII families that want to take the lead on advocating for FII’s approach of direct investment in family initiative and fostering of self-determination and supportive relationships. National Narrative Shifters collect stories of the hard work and initiative happening in their communities. Using FII’s data to corroborate the stories and leveraging FII’s blog and media networks and channels, they are creating a compelling national story on what families actually need to achieve economic mobility. This story was written by one of our 2019 National Narrative Shifters.