“United Way’s help taught me how to support myself. Most importantly, United Way helped me create a better life for my daughter.”
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), part of the Financial Stability Initiative, which encourages participants to save and learn money management skills. IDAs leverage federal, state and local dollars to help working families save and purchase their first home, start a small business, go back to school or purchase a car.
Through the program, Hope learned critical saving and financial goal-setting skills, and was able to save enough money to complete her degree. “Learning how to pay for school helped me support my daughter Ezra. Once I knew she was taken care of, I was able to focus on my studies, and make a better life for my family.”
In 2007, Hope had just earned her Associate of Science in Nursing degree, and was optimistic about her future. Now, Hope holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and works at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett. “I love my job,” she says. “On any given day, I’m a teacher, counselor and friend. It’s so rewarding.” Hope is also recently married to Jeremy, a local firefighter.
As for Ezra, she’s a smart, healthy 11-year-old little girl. Though she was very young, Ezra remembers difficult times while her mom was in school. She didn’t have a safe place to play, or know many kids her age. Hope promised that someday, they’d live in their dream house, in a safe neighborhood with lots of other kids. Today, Hope and Jeremy own a home in Marysville. “There are kids Ezra’s age in the neighborhood and they play together constantly. Ezra is so happy.”