Angie came to BUILD as a sophomore in high school in 2019, one year after her family arrived from Venezuela as political asylees. Despite major language and financial barriers, Angie had big plans for her future, and BUILD was the support and the community she needed.  With BUILD she took field trips to college campuses, organized events, mastered English, recruited her friends, and volunteered in pandemic to distribute food and resources in her own Hermosa neighborhood.

At the same time, Angie’s BUILD mentor Gabi helped her navigate the unfamiliar American educational system – lining up coursework, college applications, and financial aid to support her dream of being an engineer. With guidance and tireless work, Angie graduated with top grades, and this fall, she is a freshman at University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Engineering.

Angie still stays connected with Gabi, who helps her navigate this new challenging phase. Gabi also keeps in touch with Angie’s family at home, helping them adapt to their daughter being away. Too many first-generation college students are pulled back home by pressure to help their struggling families, so Gabi and BUILD are there to support the parents to make sure Angie can stay in school.   

BUILD knows that potential doesn’t discriminate – only opportunity does. So many barriers to opportunity still surround Angie and her family, but she is on her way to such a bright future. ‘She is a leader in every sense of the word,” says Gabi. “I admire her so much.”

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