November 4, 2019  |  Albuquerque Narrative Shifters Social Capital

The Power of Social Capital – A Long Tradition in our Latino Communities

by Jorge Montes Rodriguez, National Narrative Shifter, FII-Albuquerque

Social capital is still a concept in flux and a notion that elicits different meanings.

The idea of social capital is about the value of social networks. When communities come together, they are often bond by the values, ideas, and morals individuals share. Latin communities have a great bounding or binding within the community they live in. Latino communities share the value of giving, you may judge from your perspective that some of these individuals don’t have a whole lot to give. The very little they do have, they don’t hold to greed. In a humbling way, these individuals will give to those in need. It’s an empowering trait that such an unrepresented and suppressed community can be setting the example to follow. A trait this community seems to share is valuing support and being there for one another.

This year, the Community Building Fellows (CBF) of FII-Albuquerque, Monica Ponce & Cristina Rascon, decided to coordinate a fundraiser to support a family’s initiatives. Funds that would be utilized to directly invest back in the community. The turnout of this event exceeded past Fellow fundraisers records. This fundraiser consisted primarily of volunteering, donating, and community initiative. Due to this year only having two CBF in Albuquerque, the idea arose of creating a survey to ask what FII-Albuquerque families thought about fundraiser ideas and how they could support if able and willing to. The survey asked if anyone would like to participate in organizing a fundraiser, how the funds could be used, and if they’d be interested to donate/volunteer for the activity chosen. As a result, 9 FII-Albuquerque families came together to meet and planned out every detail of this fundraiser activity. The fundraiser consisted of selling tickets for a plate of food, a drink, and a dessert. The fundraiser was held on a Saturday on which an FII-Albuquerque Family Partner opened her home to support the effort. The committee of 9 lead on seeking donations for the food sale and selling tickets. A total of $1,067 was raised. A portion of the funds went directly to a FII family –  a single mother who is experiencing economic hardship while going through breast cancer treatment. Thanks to the funds raised, some of her home expenses where alleviated. Another portion of the funds went to a raffle prize at the Jesus Sarmiento Scholarship Fundraiser to motivate attendance, where funds are raised for the FII-Albuquerque scholarship fund named in memory of Site Director Susy Sarmiento’s husband. The remaining funds raised will be going towards the FII-Albuquerque end of year family gathering.     

Part of what made this fundraiser so successful is the social capital, connections, and relationships that our community has. “Personally, I felt very happy putting forth my bit of support to help,” stated FII-Albuquerque Family Partner Sonia Mares who volunteered in the committee to plan the activity. There is beauty and resources that lie in each and every single community, but it is the residents who uplift these rescores. The Latinos within the Albuquerque community came together and coordinated the resources that exist.

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.

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