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FLY Scholars was founded by Jonathan Villafuerte, in an effort to create systemic change by promoting a message of resilience, hope, and empowernment.


After working with multicultural communities for many years, Mr. Villafuerte noticed that the educational field was labeling and targeting first-generation and low-income youth - a category often used to identify high-opportunity students. However, the term is grounded in deficit-based language that immediately informs students about their obstacles and disadvantages. As a result, a young developing mind may quickly fall into the abyss of doubt and uncertainty. In 2019, Mr. Villafuerte set out to Reframe the Narrative for First-Generation and Low-income Youth (FLY), on the TEDx stage, by coining the term FLY Scholars as an alternative phrase for identifying resilient students.


Our philosophy is grounded in the belief that language shapes our world - words matter! We believe in maintaining a positive mindset, highlighting people's strengths and resilience, and always striving for significant outcomes. That is why our initiative is committed to creating a movement that spreads a strength-based message geared toward empowering members of the FLY Scholars community. 


We are FLY, are you? 

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