RUTHERFORD, N.J. — A group of Rutherford High School graduates are hoping the residential redevelopment company they run together will pay bills beyond their own.
Villa Visions LLC's main focus is to better peoples lives while making an income, but they also want to give some of that money back.
"It's nice to have an opportunity to give back," said Travis Soine, who launched the company with Raphal Mielniczek in 2014, and was later joined by Daniel Lawlor and Andres Ospina.
"We all had problems finding money to go to school, and we wanted to give back to the education system, because that's what gave us the opportunity to be here today."
Villa Visions' primary market is Rutherford, where they've "flipped" almost 30 homes.
But they wanted to beautify the community from the inside out, which is why they started a scholarship program for Rutherford high school students headed to college.
"We sat down with the mayor and he suggested helping the local sports teams," Soine said.
"But we wanted to hit people in a bigger way than that."
They ended up creating a scholarship fund, which started out small and simply. The Villa Visions team drafted essay questions, put it on their website and got a whole bunch of submissions from college students.
They're hoping this is just the beginning.
"We all linked together to do something incredible," Soine said.