By Kiana Morales, Program Associate
I grew up in a low-income single parent household. When I was younger my mom and I went through financial hardships and no one was there to help or guide us through those times. No one was there to give advice about going to college.
Which is why the work we do at Santa Cruz Community Ventures means so much. In SCCV I have found an opportunity to ensure that others don't have to go through the same hardships I went through and that they know how to utilize the resources available to them.
I’m especially excited about the Children's Savings Accounts program being launched. The program will provide a small seed investment to every newborn in Santa Cruz County. As 51% of the children born in Santa Cruz County are low income and 56% would to be first generation college students, I understand how much this seed investment can mean to their futures. Being part of this work is exciting!
I first joined SCCV during my sophomore year are part of their Youth Leadership Fellow program. In that role I was certified as a Financial Counselor and developed a financial capability program for girls in Middle school. The program focused on introducing the girls to financial concepts, career choices, and related educational requirements and financial impacts. While working with them I saw how much one person with the slightest bit of information can really impact the girls’ future choices. Seeing the students faces brighten up and seeing them smile about their future was a very motivating experience for me.
Which is why coming back to SCCV as a Program Associate was one of the easiest decisions I have made. I can’t wait to see how impactful the work SCCV is doing will be to its community.
ABOUT KIANA: Kiana is a first-generation UC Santa Cruz student. She is graduating in June 2019 with a degree in Business Management Economics with a minor in Mathematics.
by Christian Lopez, Program Associate
I am the first person in my family to graduate from high school. My mom supported and encouraged me to pursue college but lacked the knowledge and resources to guide me. It was thanks to the help of Cabrillo College staff and faculty I was able to enroll, receive partial assistance to pay for my tuition, and eventually help guide and support me. Today, I’m getting ready to graduate from Cabrillo and transfer to CSUMB to complete my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
Why Business Administration? Coming from a single parent household, I know the financial difficulties that can impact a family. I spent my teenage summers working in agriculture. The people I worked with came from similar backgrounds, struggles, and culture as me. Many people lack financial education, and this contributes to a family’s financial instability. My goal is to coach families in how to budget, use credit wisely and save for the future.
I first learned of SCCV as a participant of CreditBound, a program focused on building credit and building financial knowledge for young adults. Being part of Community Ventures as a Program Associate gives me the access to reach out to the community and make a potential change in their day to day life. I am excited for the journey ahead and look forward to growing as a person and learning more.
ABOUT Christian: Christian will be attending CSU Monterey Bay in Fall of 2019 to obtain his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.