1. How did you find the FUEL Education program?
A recruiting officer of a different program at Roxbury Charter School briefly spoke about the program and she was very impressed with what she heard.
2. What motivated you to join FUEL?
She says it was always the plan to go to college and was very impressed with what she had heard about FUEL. She was very happy with the “intro/initial” meeting and really enjoyed the community feel to it. She described it as a “family get together” where you feel very comfortable
3. How old is your child? What’s his/her full name?
Rojae Rowe, he’s 17 years old.
4. How many kids do you have? Have you participated in FUEL on behalf of any of your other children? Why or why not?
He’s an only child.
5. Where’s your son going to college? What are his interests?
Rojae will apply to a number of different schools and is looking to study Engineering. He wants to apply to Wentworth Institute of Technology, MIT, Boston University, TUFFS University. His goal is to stay in the area of Boston. “My ambition for him is to go to college, he has to motivate himself to get there but I will always help him”
6. Who goes to meetings on your child’s behalf?
Winsome the mother attends all of the meeting since her husband is always working and has health issues. However, she said that he is still very involved with his son’s education. “I like going to the meeting because the presenter is very friendly, very informative, 99% of the time everything is very clear. You feel very comfortable asking questions of things you don’t understand, even if you don’t have a college background”
7. What do you do professionally?
She’s a certified nurse assistant
8. Can you tell me about your experience in FUEL?
“I get excited about the list of topics I get of things we will learn about”
“The meeting opened my eyes to 2016 when my son will graduate because I was so focused on just looking at now not the future”
9. What’s changed for your family since entering the program?
“My ambition along with my son’s ambitions makes us a great team. The workshops have opened my eyes to many things I didn’t know. It brings tears to my eyes when he thanks me for the support I give him, because of the things I now know.”
“I tell me son to look back at our lives and the broken pieces we can’t put back together. With a good education and good head on your shoulders you don’t have to worry about that stuff. With FUEL as a family and support, my mind is more relaxed and prepared.”
They come from Jamaica and shared that there are many young family members with so much potential but put in no effort. She supports her son so he can be someone. “I can’t feed a child with potential but is lazy”
She said that she doesn’t like to rush into things but that she feels prepared to jump into action to help her son with college stuff. She feels in a comfort zone because she has the information she needs and knows who to talk to.
10. What have you learned from FUEL?
She said she puts God first who strengthens her in everything she does because of it she’s learned so much from FUEL. She states that biggest thing that stuck with her was the topics on loans and how to pay for college. She also said she liked learning about how her son can apply to get scholarships.
11. How much money have you been able to save so far?
“Savings part? I love it! I love it so much!” She believed to have saved $3000 so far and said that will be money for only college expenses. She won’t let anyone touch the money until it’s time to use it for college. She also believes that she would not have saved as much money as she has if it wasn’t for FUEL, “it’s a very great start because I didn’t think about how important it is to start early”
12. Do you have anything else you would like to add or advice you’d like to give to other families?
It’s a great opportunity, don’t put it off. You have to make a sacrifice and have a mind of determination. It looks far away (going to college) but it’s around the corner. You have to start somewhere. You’d be surprised how much you learn and save. TEEP and FUEL is an exceptional opportunity for city youth and parents. We love it.
Winsome Francis will tell you that a higher education for her son Rojae has always been in his future plans; however how he would achieve that was another story. Although her ambition along with Rojae’s ambition make them a great team, that’s not enough. It wasn’t until they learned about FUEL Education through the Trinity Education for Excellence Program (TEEP) that they began to plan and prepare for Rojae’s college education.
Winsome enjoys attending the TEEP Saving Circles on a regular basis. “I like going to the meeting because the presenter is very friendly, very informative, 99% of the time everything is clear. You feel very comfortable asking questions of things you don’t understand, even if you don’t have a college background.” Her favorite Saving Circle was when she learned about different kinds of loans that are available and the scholarships that her son can apply to.
Rojae’s high school graduation isn’t until 2016 but Winsome believes it’s important to prepare as soon as possible. “The meeting opened my eyes to 2016 when my son will graduate because I was so focused on just looking at now and not the future” she said. Winsome’s involvement has helped her family better understand the college process. Rojae is interested in studying engineering and plans to apply to MIT, WIT, Boston University, Tufts University among others. As a family they have been able to save for college and feel prepared and comfortable with the process. “It’s a very great start because I didn’t think about how important it is to start early.”