Abbi joined Friends of the Children-Boston (Friends-Boston) as an Achiever when she was in first grade after moving to the United States with her mother and siblings from Guyana in South America. Her Friend (professional mentor) became an integral part of the family in two distinct ways - they provided support for Abbi by bringing her out of her shell and helping her to find her voice, and they also supported Abbi’s mother who was a single parent and going to school. We did not call it 2Gen at the time, but supporting families has long been a part of our work and key to success.
Abbi’s Friend helped the family to settle into their first apartment in 2006 by helping to completely furnish the new home and providing Thanksgiving dinner that year and every year after. Working with Abbi during her middle school years to help her with her social anxiety helped build her confidence to apply to an exam school. Her Friend was there when it was time for high school, helping Abbi prepare for and driving her to her Boston Latin Academy (BLA) exam.
Putting the “+” in 12+, after graduating from BLA, her Friend helped her move into and decorate her college dorm room, reassuring her that “she got this!” While in college, Abbi was looking for an internship and reached out to her Friend to ask for assistance. This is where the Friends-Boston family stepped up.
A Friends-Boston Board member – Michael Cleary – saw something special in Abbi and was able to place her into an internship with Santander Bank. Once extremely shy, Abbi knew she wanted to work with people, making her placement in the HR department a perfect fit. She was hired for part-time work in 2017 while attending college and was hired full-time after graduation.
Today, Abbi works full-time at Santander Bank in HR, is a first-generation homeowner, is married with a new baby, and is working on her MBA. She even attended our Friends-Boston Friend Raiser in May 2022 with her husband and raised her paddle quite generously, so add donor to her impressive list of accomplishments!
Friends-Boston played a vital role in Abbi’s story of success and perseverance, supporting her hopes and dreams to become the reality that is Abbi’s life today. Were there bumps in the road along the way? Absolutely, BUT that is the beauty of a 12+ year model. We get to be there to move past the stumbles and learn and grow together. That is the power of being there no matter what. The power to break the cycle of generational poverty and make the hopes and dreams of our Achievers something they know are possible to strive for because they can look up to Abbi.
Abbi has made it clear that she wants to continue her connection with Friends-Boston. She wants to be a role model to other Achievers to never give up on themselves or their hopes and dreams because anything is possible when you have Friends by your side.