Rebecca is pleased to be considered a role model and advocate for people living in poverty. As an Americorps VISTA working in support of Bridges Summit County
, Rebecca connects residents of public housing with resources and knowledge to help them move toward a better life. In exchange, Rebecca is receiving an income stipend and college tuition that will allow her to begin to realize her dreams of completing her education, owning her own home and having a full-time career.
At one time, Rebecca had been well on the road to achieving those dreams. She had earned her associate’s degree and was on her way to earning a bachelor’s degree. In 2007, a series of catastrophic life events sent Rebecca and her two daughters on a downward spiral to economic ruin. Domestic abuse, divorce, debilitating illness and tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid child support meant that the family found themselves relying on public assistance to survive.
Observed Rebecca: “It is incredibly difficult to get out once you become entangled in the public assistance system.”
But as soon as her health was nearly fully restored, she began planning her exit strategy. United Way-supported Bridges Summit County
“Getting Ahead” classes gave her the motivation and momentum she was looking for.
“It is so important to know you are not alone and that help is available,” said Rebecca. “I am feeling so positive about my future! And, I am not stopping – I don’t ever want this feeling to go away.”
Rebecca’s story is the story of a hardworking mother who is now on the road to financial stability. But her positive experience is really just one chapter in the larger story of how United Way is bringing people and organizations together to turn our entire community around – because the whole community benefits when more working individuals and families are able to support themselves and their families.