Posts Tagged ‘higher education’

My Tween is Growing Up! #UFundDreams

I partnered with Fidelity & MEFA in support of the U.Fund Dreams Tour. As always, all opinions are my own #UFundDreams.

As my daughter finishes up fourth grade in a couple weeks I am full of mixed emotions. I for one, have NO idea how or when she grew up. She walks around in my heels like she’s been doing so for years! She is finding what makes her heart happy and is focused on helping others. I never thought I’d hear my daughter happily exclaim – Mom, I helped clean up my teacher’s classroom today! Who-is-this-child?! And why can’t the same enthusiasm be found when she cleans her room at home? She is shedding her baby layers and emerging into the most amazing human being.

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Like so many other parents, I want to bottle up her youth and innocence and shield her from the darkness that the world can bring. Protect her from heartache, rejection and disappointment. Letting go is not something I excel at. And as she grows taller and becomes more confident I cry a bit on the inside while also feeling so incredibly proud of the person she is growing up to be.

There are only a limited number of years until senior year and then real life, and I’m scared. She is so excited to grow up and travel and experience the world on a deeper level. I strive to support all of her aspirations, but it can be difficult without the right planning and resources. Part of setting her up for success means investing in her future and ensuring that higher education is within her reach and is not a burden to our family. Living in the heart of Massachusetts has given us exposure to the 200 colleges and universities that call Mass home and it’s instilled a sense of lifelong learning in my curious tween.

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Did you know Massachusetts has more colleges per capita than any other state? Given the variety of higher education options there is an organization committed to ensuring parents and students feel empowered to smartly save for college in a way that is aligned with what their family can contribute. Saving for college panics me, to be honest. I didn’t save properly and as a result will be paying student loans off for many many long years. Just think about it – what if there was a way to invest in your child’s higher learning through making small contributions every month? Yes, it is possible with MEFA. I encourage everyone to check out MEFA’s UFund Dreams which is an interactive experience for parents to learn more about the programs  offered by MEFA while your kids get to have fun through play while peaking their curiosity for learning. A total win-win for everyone.

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While I’ll be soon wiping away the tears as we say goodbye to fourth grade, I am looking confidently towards the future excited to support my kiddo in pursuing her dreams.

 



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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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Pursuing an Education while Parenting Young

Walking across the stage last September to accept my diploma was the 2nd happiest day in my life. The first being the day my daughter was born J Few people truly understand the struggle it was to complete my education, work full-time, and be the best parent I could be – alone. Prior to having my daughter at 19 I had completed a year of college, but was convinced it wasn’t for me and waited until my daughter was around a 1½ before returning back to school. Sacrifice doesn’t even begin to explain it. When I first re-enrolled my life was a mess, I was living in an illegal apartment, and then I moved over two hours away. I woke up at 5am with my young daughter and commuted over two hours each morning and afternoon with her to fulfill my responsibilities at work and school. Many mornings she cried the whole train ride. Many mornings I cried along with her. But, I was not meant to break, I was meant to succeed. So I stuck with it, often with no support, and never once did I think I would actually make it to graduation day.

So when I was approached by my friend Natasha from STEPPS Boston about hosting one of their weekly Twitter chats on pursuing an education while parenting young, I was nervous! STEPPS (Summit for Teen Empowerment, Progress, and Parenting Success) is a phenomenal organization in Boston working with teen parents with the goal of increasing the communication between young parents and the organizations and agencies that serve them. Reflecting back on my challenging education road, I didn’t think there was much I could share with young parents, why would they listen to me? Then I thought about myself during the six years I struggled being a student. I thought of the countless nights and weekends spent studying, shutting down from the world, wishing I had someone to talk with, someone who understood. I thought of going to bed late after an all-night cram session and seeing my daughter sleeping so peacefully, reminding me of my purpose, of my mission. I thought of my daughter’s face as I nervously walked past her on the way to the stage to get my diploma, saw her million dollar smile. I remembered her telling me how proud she was of me. I then realized I had something to share with other young parents.

There is no motivation but you when considering higher education being a young parent. You can want it, can dream about it, but if you are unwilling to put in the work you won’t ever get what you want. What was really important to me during the chat was to be REAL, it ain’t all roses, it’s hard and you are going to want to give up, just like I did. I felt extremely guilty not being with my daughter the days and nights I was at school, thought I was a terrible mother. But, you’ve got to stay focused on the bigger picture. What do you want for you and your family in the future?

I was so thrilled to hear so many people taking in what I was saying in the chat, they asked questions, they shared, and I think hope they felt inspired. The same frustrations that were shared about juggling and financial aid felt so familiar to me, because I felt the same, but by even having the opportunity to come together over twitter and talk and build community is crucial, and something I wish I had while in college.

Thank you to all of the wonderful young parents who joined the chat and were so open about sharing their experiences. Click HERE to learn more about STEPPS Boston. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter. And if you are in the Boston area be sure to check out their Summit on June 27th!



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