January 1, 2017  |  Albuquerque Civic Engagement Education Housing UpTogether Fund

Marian Jazmin Mendez-Cera

My name is Marian Jazmin Mendez-Cera, I attended the University of New Mexico and received a double major in Psychology and Philosophy with a concentration in Pre-law. My educational goal is to eventually gain a J.D. in law focusing on Immigration Law or Labor Rights.

My family’s journey with Family Independence Initiative (FII) started a year ago when we joined with a group of other families — and we call our group Latino Pride. We initially decided to become part of the FII family since it was another way to engage with other members of the community while uplifting community stories and resources. As a family, everything we do, we do it as a team, supporting one another to facilitate the path of the goal we are seeking. Being part of FII has given value to recognize every step we are taking for the betterment of our family; things such as realizing the difference in income versus expenses each month, and grasping the idea of progress through the evaluation. We initially began by having four main goals: 1) continue to engage civically in the community, 2) to have my brother and myself graduate from college, 3) buy good efficient cars, and 4) own a house.

My family originated from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. When our financial income wasn’t enough to cover school expenses and basic needs for survival, my family decided to migrate to the United States seeking access to quality education and financial stability in 2005.

Thanks for the amazing resources from the community, financial aid from private scholarships, and moral support from our parents, my brother and I, non-traditional first-generation undocumented students graduated from the University of New Mexico in the spring of 2016. We truly appreciate everyone that supported us throughout the way, especially our padres (my parents) as they were of great support with their great ganas de salir adelante (efforts and vision towards a better life).

The year of 2016 has been very promising to our family, we have accomplished almost all of our main goals we had when we began with FII. Currently, we are working towards our last goal… buying our own house! We decided to apply for the FII’s Match resource in November 2016 to facilitate our home ownership. In preparation towards applying for the resource, in the summer of 2016, my parents decided to get a second job (part-time), my brother started working part-time, and I went from a part-time to full-time employee; these increased and stabilized our income even furthered to begin saving. We are truly excited! After more than 10 years since we came to the United States, after surpassing every obstacle along the way, to finally be potentially able to own a house we can call home! But most of all, we truly appreciate the great experiences, development, and independence that have flourished from partaking in FII.

My brother and I graduated from college.

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