Leaving Haiti to come to America, Widline Arecius had dreams of becoming a US citizen, earning a degree, and securing a job so she could take care of her family. What she found was a road filled with obstacles that would have caused many to abandon hope. Without the lifeline of support she found at several local organizations and opportunities funded by United Way, she might have.
Despite her fear of failure and insecurities about tackling tough classes at age 35, Jonelle Hopgood enrolled in a 5-week pharmacy tech class at the Anderson Impact Center that gave her the opportunity to realize her true potential and a better life.
Life wasn’t going the way Holli wanted. She found herself once again in an abusive situation and struggling financially to support herself and her son Matthew. She knew she needed help to figure out why life was going the way it was and encouragement that she could make changes that would lead to a better future for herself and her son.
For Elizabeth Ellebracht, total recovery meant overcoming not just her eating disorder but also the struggle of having the resources and skills to make it on her own.
“My life is so incredibly different now. It’s like night and day,” said Elizabeth. “I’ve been in recovery for six years and today I have a lot more confidence. I learned how to connect with people in positive ways. I gained a lot of tools for living, like how to stretch my dollars and be a good steward.”
For years, Pearl McCracken struggled with poverty. Losing hope. The dream of owning her own home seemed impossible, until a financial empowerment program funded by United Way gave her the opportunity to realize her dream.
APRIL & CRYSTAL
For Crystal Threet and April Jayne, pursuing the certifications required for their jobs was easier and more affordable than they could have imagined. Through the United Way-funded Incumbent Worker program at JobSource, both women found the opportunity to have their classes, books, and exam fees for their certifications covered with no cost to them.
Lisa had a career she loved, working as a Certified Nurse Assistant and caring for others. It was something she’d done for many years and she looked forward to it each day. She was thankful for a job she loved, a good employer and the income it provided. Unfortunately she did not make enough to leave much left over at the end of each paycheck. The struggle of staying on top of her bills was all too real. On December 28, 2014 the struggle became even greater as she suffered both a stroke and seizure that forced her to be off work and consequently without insurance at a time she needed it most.
Turning to United Way for help during this critical time for Lisa provided more than she could have hoped.
Two years ago Tony Sovern was working in a factory as a machine operator when he along with many co-workers were laid off. Each hoped the “return to work” call would come, but it never did. For the next two years, amidst a struggling local economy, Tony was only able to land part-time jobs that paid minimum wage. Things were tight and getting tighter as Tony and his wife welcomed a new baby to the family. He knew he needed a new stable job that paid more so that he could support and make the future better for his family.
Mary operates her own in home childcare center, Smart Start Child Care out of her west side home in Anderson. More than half of the children in Mary’s care are under the age of 5. This age is a critical learning time for children because evidence has shown that children who build early learning skills before kindergarten enter school more ready to learn than their peers.
2 years ago Mary was introduced to a new learning tool designed for home-based childcare providers by one of United Way’s Born Learning Coordinators. The tool was Born Learning’s free T.O.T.E.S. exchange program.
Having made a mistake on her taxes twenty years ago, LouAnn was afraid to file her taxes on her own. Previously, she had paid to have her taxes filed, and this year it was going to cost her $288 – a price that was all too high for her family. Luckily, LouAnn frequented the library and saw a poster about a service that would allow her to file her taxes for free, MyFreeTaxes.com.