Securing A Better Future: Kathy’s Story
We love to collect and share stories that illustrate how your community investment helps create brighter lives for so many individuals and families throughout the community. It is a joy to follow-up with you about Kathy, whose journey of success began with a single yard sign.
You may remember Kathy’s story. A few years ago, Kathy was the primary caregiver of her ill mom, six-month old daughter, and 1½-year old son. As a single mother, she was surviving with government assistance and fed up with dead-end jobs. “I didn’t like my situation at all,” Kathy shares. “I was in a dark, stuck place, and literally on the verge of depression.” Although Kathy’s family held a strong work ethic, they did not encourage her to push beyond her high school education and secure a better future for herself and two small children.
As a Williamson County resident, Kathy had passed by the church that houses Begin Anew (a United Way of Williamson County partner) on many occasions. A sign in the church yard promoted free job skills and computer classes. “When I looked in my kids’ faces I said, ‘I have to do better for you.’ And I wanted to do better for myself,” Kathy explains. So, she decided to give the classes a try.
Reliable transportation was a challenge, but this did not stop Kathy from attending weekly computer classes at Begin Anew. She also learned, for example, how to write a resume and prepare for job interviews. While attending class, Begin Anew provided free childcare. Kathy enjoyed the comfort of being in a stress-free environment with passionate mentors. “I could forget everything else and just focus on what was in front of me.” For a year and a half, mentors nurtured Kathy’s confidence and encouraged her to envision a rewarding future. They also encouraged her to enroll in the Social Work program at Columbia State.
United Way’s financial stability partners empower individuals to overcome the obstacles of poverty. Kathy received education and mentoring that expanded her outlook and set her on the course to financial independence. Without Begin Anew, “I would have remained in the cycle of trying to maintain rather than setting goals.”
With her degree in hand, Kathy accepted a Human Resources position at Community Health Systems, a top United Way corporate partner. Here, she utilizes her social work education to manage employee relations. The HR position has provided Kathy with job security and a promising career.
When people participate in financial stability programs, they not only attain valuable skills and ongoing support, but they also learn that planning is integral to personal success. So, when Kathy set her sights on home ownership, she created a savings plan and sought resources for first-time homebuyers. After months of diligence, Kathy purchased a great home for her family in summer 2018.
Today, Kathy plans to further her education at MTSU, which will advance her career and help fulfill her dream of traveling.
Click here to learn more about the United Way partners that help families achieve and maintain financial stability and self-sufficiency.