P.I.E. Means A Place To Call My Own

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   Some think that becoming a homeowner in Boulder is unfathomable due to it’s skyrocketing real estate. But Marcela was not going to let others dictate her abilities to accomplish her dream. In 2004, she moved from Chile to America to study Early Childhood Education and soon after began her studies in real estate. And now with a four-year-old son, she knew moving from apartment to apartment could not go on for much longer. “Though I had a steady teaching position, I wanted more stability for me and my little boy,” Marcela stated. “It meant a lot to me to find a place to call my own.”

   Before becoming a participant in the PIE (Personal Investment Enterprise) Program, Marcela and her son lived in an apartment in North Boulder. The rent kept getting higher and higher, and she knew it was time to find a solution to her problem. She recalled a roommate from her past that told her, her grandma worked for Boulder County and knew of a matched savings program with Foothills United Way. This memory led her to apply to the PIE Program with hopes of homeownership in hand. Marcela states “I was hesitant and uncertain if the program would actually work, but I wanted to give it my best effort.” 

 Slowly the PIE Program gained Marcela’s trust, and she found it very easy to save little by little each month. Marcela had always saved, but “The program provided a bigger incentive for me to save and be consistent with my spending,” she said. Nino Gallo, the PIE Program Coordinator with Boulder County Community Action Programs, guided her to the classes offered to the program participants. The classes were more than helpful to Marcela, and she was able to learn valuable information about money savings such as how APRs (annual percentage rates) affect loans. Soon enough, she had saved $1,000, $167 a month.

  After reaching this goal, Marcela graduated from the program and applied her savings plus the match to buy her first home. “PIE made it super easy to close on the house and made sure everything went smoothly,” Marcela said. Now, Marcela and her son live in North Boulder in a house that they can call their very own. Her teacher’s degree landed her a great opportunity at a preschool, and has allowed her son to receive a priceless preschool education. But now with homeownership under belt, Marcela can now follow her next passion, real estate.  

   Even after graduating from the program, Marcela continues to save what she can each month and makes wise money choices. “Before the PIE program, my dream of owning my own home seemed intimidating, but now I feel more accomplished and inspired to tackle anything that comes my way,” said Marcela.


“Owning my own home has changed my life for two reasons: First, I now have peace of mind that I have a stable roof over Valentino’s head and that I don’t have to worry about the next apartment to find. Second, I feel a sense of personal accomplishment; I am proud of reaching my goal and sticking to saving. I want to encourage others to invest through the PIE Program because not only is it rewarding, it is a great place to start,” said Marcela.