SEATAC, Wash., and TIGARD, Ore. (9/16/15)--On Sept.28, Gilberto Celistino, 17, will become the first member of his family to start college classes, thanks to Salem, Ore.-based Maps CU’s foundation and its individual development account (IDA) program.
Celistino, who immigrated from Mexico with his family when he was a child, watched his parents struggle to make ends meet. He knew the value of hard work and worked hard at a tree nursery during high school to save for college. But his hard work still wasn’t enough, according to the Northwest Credit Union Association (Anthem Sept. 15). Different loan, scholarship and grant opportunities were mostly out of reach.
Then Oscar Porras of the credit union’s philanthropic arm, Maps Community Foundation (MCF), visited Celistino’s high school and discussed its IDA program, which allows students to save for college and more than matches their savings with three dollars for every dollar the student saves.
Celistino expressed interest, and Porras visited his family home to help him fill out the application. Since then MCF IDA Manager Peter Rector has walked Celistino through every step from application to placement tests to registering for classes.
The IDA program is a partnership between MCF and CASA of Oregon, a community organization that seeks to empower people with building blocks for a better life.
Students participating in the program can save up to $1,000 per year for three years, with the money matched three times, said NWCUA. A participant who saves the maximum $3,000 during the program gets $9,000 in matching funds, for a total of $12,000 for education.
Celistino is taking classes in drafting and design and said he hopes that his worth ethic will be an example to his younger siblings.