Imagine for a moment that every family in Snohomish County has a roof over their head, fresh, healthy food on the table and are able to pay their bills. Several years ago, this was only a dream for Zsofia and her family, who were living in poverty and could barely afford their basic needs.
Zsofia’s life changed dramatically when she was accepted into a United Way initiative that provided classes on money management, saving, and how to create an effective business plan.
Do you remember being a teenager and trying to find your place in this world? Now imagine doing that as a brand new member of this country. This is Beth’s story.
Beth emigrated from Ethiopia with her family several years ago, and wanted so badly to fit in and give back to her new community.
“I felt so out of place, but I didn’t know where to start,” Beth recalls.
When Beth learned about Youth United, she knew she was headed in the right direction.
If you’ve ever made a big change in your life, you know that old habits can be hard to break. This is Dominick’s story.
At 17, Dominick had dropped out of school, and became involved in drugs and a gang. Dominick knew his life was headed in the wrong direction, and when he reached rock bottom, he knew it was time to make a lasting change.
Slowly, Dominick separated himself from the negative influences in his life, but was often tempted to fall back into a life of drugs and violence. Then, he was introduced Cocoon House’s U-Turn program, a drop-in center for at-risk teens and a United Way funded program.
“A few years ago, my son Ashton had early signs of autism. We weren’t even sure he would ever speak. Now he’s thriving.”
When Ashton began displaying early signs of autism, his mother Lisa brought him to a United Way-funded program at Little Red School House, an agency that advances the quality of life for children with or at risk of developmental delays and disabilities. Through the program, Ashton learned critical behavioral and learning skills.
As a young single mother, Hope’s dream of pursuing a nursing degree seemed just that—a dream. “The idea of 40 hours a week for school was daunting. I wouldn’t have been able to work or afford daycare. I almost gave up,” said Hope.
Just before giving up on her nursing degree, Hope learned about United Way’s Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), which encourages participants to save and learn money management skills.
In 2008, Joni walked into a United Way Free Tax Preparation Site in Everett, and walked out with the largest refund she had ever received. With that money, she was able to pay her bills, financially support her two teenage daughters and, for the first time, give back to the community.