CICF Scholarships: Community Wins with Investment in Indiana Students


First 2016 CICF Scholarship application deadline is December 14

In 2008 a set of twins won the confidence of a scholarship review board. And boy, has that investment paid off for Indianapolis.

Pike High School graduates Caracciola ‘Cari’ and Taracciola ‘Tari’ Morales used the Mexican Scholarship, administered by Central Indiana Community Foundation, to attend Indiana University.

Both women, now 25, have handedly met the scholarship’s core criteria: leadership and giving back to the community.

Cari works with residents and businesses to drive the Great Places Initiative for Indy’s Near West neighborhood at Michigan Rd. and King St.

“I help people who really care about their community, take the assets they already have and make them into something awesome,” said Cari Morales, program associate, Local Initiatives Support Coalition.

She was a community organizer in St. Petersburg, FL, for three years before accepting the role at LISC and didn’t waste time when she returned to Indiana, immediately jumping into the 1828 Project, Indy Hub’s civic leadership group for adults age 18 to 28.

“There’s always been a fire in me, that whole ‘saving the world’ mentality,” said Cari.

In high school, the girls took advantage of writing and college application workshops and mentored younger students through the El Puente Project, La Plaza’s initiative to stem high school dropout rates.

This commitment to education and community helped the girls earn the scholarships and their first jobs, as did perspective gained from trips abroad.

Cari traveled with IU’s Global Business Brigade to Panama to help raise money to buy a cornhusker for a local farmer. Meanwhile Tari went to Honduras with the Global Public Health Brigade to teach schools about cleanliness and fire safety and help build washtubs and restrooms.

After graduation and time in Milwaukee, Wis., Tari returned to Indiana to put her bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training to work as a health coach at American Specialty Health, counseling people in stress management, nutrition and physical activity through their employers’ health plan. Approximately 20 percent of her clients are Spanish-speaking.

“I love inspiring people to be active and to stay healthy,” says Tari.

A family affair

The two live on Indy’s northeast side with their older brother. He and their older sister were mentors to the pair as first generation college students. Their parents, immigrants from Puerto Rico and Nicaragua, also provided encouragement, and the whole family figured it out together.

It wasn’t easy. Cari was a Resident Assistant and Tari worked in a day care center to help pay for school.

“If you want something, you actually have to try rather than just give up,” Cari says. “Give it your all, and you can do it.”

Leading by example

Cari says she’s still searching for “bigger challenges and a stronger sense of purpose.” Tari agrees, “You can always do more.”

“I want to be plugged-in to my city and be more connected so I can make Indianapolis a better place,” says Cari.

Her advice:

College is a time to explore. Even though you may lose your way at times, always come back to your roots. Challenge yourself. Put yourself in uncomfortable situations. It’s okay to doubt yourself at times, because eventually you’ll have the confidence to be who you want to be.

The mantra has served the sisters and best friends well. You can bet they’ll be together, making their mark on Indianapolis and any other community they live in for quite some time.

With more than a 30 scholarships available, the CICF Scholarship Program encourages students (as well as those not currently in school) to reach higher levels of education and aims to pull Indiana up from among the states with the lowest percentage of young adults with a bachelor’s degree.

Don’t miss out! Review the 2016 Guidebook and apply today.

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