Looking back, Regina knows she could be living a very different life. Today, she has a steady job and reliable transportation, and is working hard to manage her finances in order to build a safe and secure life for herself and her children. It wasn’t always that way.
Like so many others living in low-income housing, Regina was struggling with managing her limited finances. She was getting frustrated with the struggles to get by while trying to provide a stable life for her two children.
A challenging upbringing had made her resilient, but her determination was not match for the dwindling job market of the recession and poor financial management skills. Her car was broken down and she seriously considered getting a high interest loan to buy a new one. “It seemed like everything was breaking down. How could I get to work and provide for my children if my car was always breaking down? It seemed like the easiest thing to do was either quit my job, so I wouldn’t be fired or to get a new car. I struggle to make a decision. I didn’t see any other way.”
While struggling with her decision, she went in to talk to the Phoenix Family staff in her community, complaining of her lack of choices. Road to Empowerment started in her community in just a few weeks and Regina decided that the program would help her. “I thought, I have nothing to lose,” she said.
“The classes were great, but the part about financial crediting really caught (my attention),” she said. Following up on the information about financial credit counseling learned at the classes proved to be the turning point. After talking with a financial counselor from the Road to Empowerment classes about her finances and challenges, Regina decided to get a small loan and fix up her car instead of buying a new one. “Before, I would have bought a new one because I wanted it, but that decision would have hurt my kids.” Instead, the decision she made will play a critical role in helping her to remain financially independent, insuring she had reliable transportation and could keep her job.
“I feel like I’m a really strong person,” Regina said. “But (without Road to Empowerment), I would have been back to square one.” This puts her on the “road” to make more informed decisions that will assist her and her family in continuing to remain independent and gain greater stability over time. The valuable skills she learned in the course, resources she was connected to and the connections she made with other residents in the course will help her to remain independent.
Phoenix Family’s Road to Empowerment enabled Regina to learn how to make more informed decisions to help her and her family remain financially independent. Road to Empowerment not only helped her learn new skills, but “I know I’m not doing this alone,” she said. Regina reports, “There are other agencies who can help you and there are other people right where I live who are going through the same thing.” and that means something - knowing that she’s not alone in her struggles has made all of the difference.
Today, she and her children are doing well. She’s still working and her car is reliable. “Well, it’s not a new car,” she laughs, “but it was the best choice for me and my kids.”