The Eugenio María de Hostos Community College Family Empowerment Program (FEP) held its Winter Festival and Toy Drive in the campus’ Savoy Building on December 22, 2020. Approximately 60 student-parents and over 120 children visited the campus to pick up toys and food in time for the holidays.

One of those parents was Catalina and her daughter, Emily. “My daughter and I thank you for the beautiful gifts. Emily holding toysEmily is so happy,” she said. ‘How did they know I love to draw?’ I can never thank you enough.”

FEP manager Christeen Francis did not allow the pandemic to get in the way of making the annual toy drive and giveaway happen. “Many Hostos student-parents are struggling emotionally and financially more than ever because of how the pandemic has negatively impacted this community's employment status,” said Francis of the effort to help elevate the spirit of our students.

The FEP acknowledges the generosity of the Hostos faculty and staff who donated toys, including the Office of the President and Interim-President Daisy Cocco De Filippis personally contributed towards the toy drive. Thank you to the Office of Student Activities for their unending support. Gratitude also goes to our Public Safety officers as Santa’s helpers, the ARC, CUNY EDGE, College Discovery, Institutional Advancement, and the Health and Wellness staff for all their work. Equal acknowledgment goes to Hostos’ custodial staff and laborers, without whom the toy drive would not be possible. Thank you to Caribbean Footsteps Inc., who also contributed to this Winter Festival. Each year our internal Hostos community and our extended family show how caring and committed they are to supporting student’s livelihoods and well-being at Hostos Community College.

“The Hostos community has always been generous. And these actions of service by our staff and faculty make me feel proud of this institution. Despite the tremendously difficult year, our people strive to give back and these gestures do make a difference. I am grateful to the Family Empowerment Program staff and everyone who helped make this toy drive a reality. Happy Holidays to everyone and many blessings,” remarked Interim-President Daisy Cocco De Filippis of the FEP Winter Festival.

About the Family Empowerment Program (FEP)
The FEP mission is to provide services to single parents, enrolled full time, and are pregnant or have children between the ages of 0-14 years old. Our program helps students in their pursuit to complete their associate degrees, maintain healthy lifestyles, and be self-sufficient and nurturing parents. The program aids parenting students by connecting them to resources within Hostos and in the community. Each student is provided with individualized case management and social work services, advocacy, educational workshops, parent's meet-up groups, emotional support, and much more. The Family Empowerment Program believes that educated families elevate and empowers communities. Here at Hostos Community College, we want to ensure that we assist our student parents on their journey to success. Students who would like to learn more about FEP can email Christeen Francis at