Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Get Your Family Excited About Saving for College! #UFundDreams

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I’ve partnered with Fidelity & MEFA for this post in support of the U.Fund Dreams Tour. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

There are plenty of things that my daughter and I get excited about:

  • Puppies
  • Kittens
  • FRIDAYS!
  • Vacation
  • The Future

Yes, I said the future!!! It’s imperative that I stay educated about the various opportunities available to our family and many others across Massachusetts that directly relate to making higher education affordable. This summer, the folks at Fidelity and the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) have teamed up again to provide a fun, interactive and informative opportunity for families to learn about saving for college through events around Boston.

Last weekend, we visited the MayFair in Harvard Square and stopped by the U.Fund Dreams Tour tent. Not only did we get to be goofy while posing to make an animated GIF but also got to “shoot for the moon” and talk with representatives about the U.Fund, Massachusetts 529 plan, which is a phenomenal tool to help save for college.

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Those of you who may have visited the tent last year are in for a special treat! The tent has gotten a makeover and is even more engaging, bright and kid-friendly than ever. While your kids are “shooting for the moon” you can use one of the iPads to try out our college savings slinger digital web app and learn more about the benefits of starting early and saving regularly.It’s a true WHOLE family experience, that makes learning FUN.

Yes, college isn’t for another eight years (YIKES!) but it is never too early to plan for the future!

Check the MEFA website often to stay updated on where the U.Fund Dreams Tour tent will be next and to lean about all the benefits of the UFund plan.



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Saving for College Is Possible with the MA U.Fund & ‘Grace for President’ Book #Giveaway #DreamsTour2014

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With the end of another school year upon us (we’re counting down the final TWO days of school) it’s been fun to look through the projects, pictures and poems my daughter created over the year in 2nd grade. Along with a special book of poetry and projects learning about her Jamaican and Colombian heritage was a packet asking her what she wanted to be when she grew up. I’ve asked her over the years what she wanted to be when she grows up and she hasn’t been shy about her varying desires.

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“Mommy, I want to be a Police Officer like Daddy and help people. I also want to be a Teacher. Oh and I love music, and Michael Jackson is my favorite artist, and I want to be on the Disney channel and be a singer and dancer. Mommy – why aren’t there any female Presidents? I think I could do that too.”

Do I want my baby girl to grow up? Sometimes…but not really. Am I looking forward to seeing the woman and advocate she will be when she grows up? Absolutely. Listening to her speak of her future gives me butterflies. I’ve always encouraged her to be creative and engage in diverse activities so she has a well-rounded childhood. Did I tell you she’s running a triathlon at MIT next month? I don’t want any opportunity to be out of her reach – and if I’m able I want to provide her with varying experiences to show her all that the world has to offer.

Growing up as the youngest of four children I don’t remember having conversations with my Mother about my future or career. I wasn’t encouraged to think about the future or college, I knew I had greatness within me, but didn’t know how to tap into it. I completed college applications on my own, didn’t receive any monetary support for college, and actually didn’t participate in sports my senior year of high school so I could save for college. I still remember moving into my dorm room 11 years ago with less than $20 in my bank account. My future didn’t seem very bright at that time, and I wish with the support of my Mother we could have planned for my college journey.

My College Graduation

My College Graduation

As I think about my daughter entering 3rd grade in the Fall (yikes!) and eventually graduating high school and moving onto college – it makes me quite nervous! As a single Mom who isn’t yet 30 I’m still building my life, and figuring out where the road will take me – but my daughter’s education is a priority because I don’t want her to have any barriers accessing higher education as I did. But I can’t plan for her future alone, which is why I’m thrilled that the U.Funds Dream Tour and their Dream Tents will be engaging with families around Massachusetts this summer and fall and getting them excited about seeing their dreams come to life and saving for college.

I had the opportunity to stop by the Dreams Tent this past weekend and was so impressed at the valuable information for both kids and families and the interactive displays for kids. The most exciting part for my daughter was being in front of a green screen decked out in rockstar attire. Given that she has big dreams of being a singer and dancer she was able to pose and see her picture printed on top of a concert background. She was able to see her dreams come to life which was great and also brought up how she can pursue her dreams – and we both know that education is key.

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The U.Fund Dreams Tour is just the beginning and a great way to get your kids involved with their future. MEFA’s Ufund is a Massachusetts 529 college-investing plan, tax-advantaged savings plan managed by Fidelity. MEFA is a dynamic local non-profit state authority working to make higher education more accessible and affordable.

My daughter’s education is an investment in herself and her future. I never want her to stop learning or stop growing and I hope through saving for her college education at an early age will truly provide her with the support she needs to dream BIG.

Speaking of dreaming big, one of our favorite books to read is a great book called “Grace for President” by Kelly S. DiPucchio which talks about one determined young girl who is upset there haven’t been any female Presidents and runs a Presidential campaign in her school – and wins! It’s a powerful educational book to read with my daughter that reinforces my desire for her to think and dream BIG and I want to offer this book to one lucky reader – enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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How Do I Support My Daughter’s Bilingual Education?

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Even though I check off African American and Hispanic when I complete paperwork, I’ve never fully felt Spanish…even if I’m half Colombian.

My father and his family emigrated from Colombia and settled here in the great U-S-of-A. They all speak Spanish fluently and for them English is their second language. I grew up without my dad being in the picture and unfortunately that meant I didn’t learn at all about my Colombian heritage nor did I learn to speak Spanish. I remember being so irritated in high school when Spanish didn’t come naturally, I was embarrassed. Embarrassed that I embraced being half Colombian, but couldn’t pass my final Spanish exam. And now, my full name is quite Latin, as is my daughters, and once I open my mouth and tell people I’m Colombian, the immediately ask: Do you speak Spanish? And I always feel like a fraud.

I felt I missed out growing up without learning another language and when I was choosing schools for my daughter one thing was for sure – learning Spanish would be part of the curriculum, and she’d grow up bilingual.

My daughter has been enrolled in a dual-language immersion school since she was in Junior Kindergarten and is now in the 2nd grade. All of the teachers are fully bilingual, with many of them from Spanish speaking countries. Now that she’s in 2nd grade she has a full week of Spanish, where all students and staff speak in Spanish, and then a full week of English. The school strives to make the classrooms as diverse as possible and try their best to mix classrooms with half Spanish speaking students and half who speak English as a first language at home. Even though it’s a public school it’s quite competitive, and how Spanish is integrated within the curriculum is unlike any school around.

Read the rest of “How Do I Support My Daughter’s Bilingual Education?” and over on The Young Mommy Life.



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[Lessons From A Student Mama] The Mistake Of Trying To Do Too Much While Balancing School And Family

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For years before I graduated from college in 2011 I imagined my graduation day.

I’d wrap myself in a long gown, and attempt to fight back tears, tears of years of sacrifice and struggle. Trying to steady myself on the seemingly long walk to the stage to accept my diploma I’d search in the crowd for my loved ones and my daughter waving frantically wanting to ensure her Mommy saw her. I’d close my eyes, hear my name and slowly walk on the stage, praying I wouldn’t fall. With a frantically beating heart I’d smile wide all while thinking I did it. I did it. I finally did it.

My graduation day was a dream I had ever since I re-enrolled in college two years after my daughter was born.

Every student dreams about their Graduation day, a day of celebration and excitement. It can seem out of your reach when you’re in the midst of studying for exams and burning the midnight oil. And for those who juggle parenthood and employment alongside being a student the journey to securing a degree can at times seem daunting. That image of walking across the stage to accept my college diploma was, at times, the only thing that kept me from walking away from pursuing a higher education.

As I look back at the five total years I spent being a student, I’m in complete awe that I was able to prioritize my education. Though I had two older siblings that were in college, it wasn’t something that was ever pushed on me or encouraged. I figured I should go because I didn’t want to be stuck in my small town forever, but I didn’t take it seriously. It wasn’t until after I had my daughter that I realized having a degree would open more doors and could help me provide a brighter future for us.

 

Read the rest of [Lessons From A Student Mama] The Mistake Of Trying To Do Too Much While Balancing School And Family over on The Young Mommy Life.



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