Sharon was a young college student, facing an unplanned pregnancy. As a result, she left college and for the next 7 years, was in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship with the father of her child. Abuse that would send her to the hospital 3 times. After the third time, DCS got involved and he went to prison.
Sharon was driven to build stability and a better future for her two daughters, Reina and Grace, and so she worked with THRIVE coaches on several fronts – childcare, housing and financial stability.
GETTING BACK UP STORY
For many THRIVE clients, life is a continual cycle of being knocked down, getting back up and then getting knocked down again. What sets them apart is despite major life challenges, they reach out for help so they can press on for a better future.
“Sometimes you go through a lot as a single mom. You’re hard on yourself and you can’t see the future,” said Liza. “At the Thrive Network, I felt like I had support. I could be more successful. They push you to do better and work harder for your kids.”
THRIVING AT ANY AGE STORY
You’ve heard us say that the THRIVE Network is there for everyone. Anyone can be a part of it – no matter circumstance, income or age. To show the truth in that, the reality that there are individuals working hard to make their future stronger and better in all walks and stages of life, I want to share the story of one of our participants with you.
At the age of 25, Destiny Bautista had already been married for 8 years with an infant when her husband decided having a family wasn’t for him. He left, and with him, he took the little money in their checking account and left Destiny with all the bills.
“With the help of United Way's Thrive Program, I saw that I can accomplish my goals. When my son’s father left, I thought ‘how am I going to do this’. But now I know I can,”
Being homeless, says Alyssia, humbled her. “Reach out when you need help. Don’t be so full of pride and think you can do it by yourself. Ask for help. It’s worth it. If you don’t ask, they won’t know you need it.”
LARRY AND LEIGH ANN
Larry and Leigh Ann Chubb know firsthand that living without health insurance affects you more than you can imagine. After years of both Larry and his wife Leigh Ann having employer-provided insurance, they found themselves with no insurance when Larry was unable to return to his job as a mechanic after a doctor-directed medical leave. Leigh Ann shared, “I was so worried about what could happen without insurance that I couldn’t sleep at night. I felt like if something happened, we could lose our home in order to cover the medical costs.”
Domestic Abuse and unhealthy living situations brought Chrystal to a point of desperation and wanting better for her two boys and herself. All have been staying at Alternatives, a local domestic abuse shelter, since May of 2016.
At Alternatives, Chrystal was introduced to a new program through United Way called the THRIVE program. “I was at rock bottom,” shared Chrystal, “I didn’t know what to do. My job didn’t give me enough hours. My car wasn’t running right. Kelly, a coach at Alternatives, introduced me to United Ways’ THRIVE program.” With help from people like Kelly and Mary, Employment Coach for United Ways’ Thrive Program, Chrystal can obtain the skills, schooling and employment she needs to reach her short and long-term goals for herself and her boys.
Hear from Tim about his journey to the THRIVE Network through an expungement program at The Anderson Impact Center.
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.
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.