Our Team

Vanessa Morones

FII-Oakland Liaison

My journey began in East Oakland with my three sisters and one brother in a two parent household. My parents were immigrants to this country. They worked hard in order to insure we had the necessities. I grew up learning the value of hard work and education, through their example. As I got older I soon was made aware of the struggle of growing up in the inner city. I worked part time to help pay for my high school education. Due to my dedication, I was able to go to college and earned a B.A. in documentary photojournalism. Throughout college I was able to maintain three part-time jobs in order to pay my bills.

A couple of months after I graduated I became a mother. I married my husband and we now have eight children. My husband and I juggle our time raising our children and expanding my photography business. Many obstacles — such as living paycheck to paycheck — are factors in our family’s constant struggle. As the years went by, I was able to work with many families in need of help in areas such as guidance with their workman’s compensation cases, resources for legal aid, and assisted with their Spanish/English language barriers. I taught Spanish for several years at a local elementary school. I also work with WIC as a bilingual peer counselor.

Growing up and working in Oakland has helped me see the potential and tenacity that the residents possess — families that have little to no resources. Then I was introduced to FII.
I thought to myself, “Finally, an organization that sees the potential in families and has provided a pathway for them to help take control of their own futures”. I am excited to join the FII family and look forward to contributing to this movement.

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