The economy may be unstable, but the Save Up program is continuing to work with low-income families in Shelby County to make the best choices possible with the limited resources they have. Since January, 2013, RISE has graduated 23 program participants who are now in the savings component of the program. These families all have the goal of purchasing an asset like a home, car, computer or funds for education (so that they can compete for job opportunities that will increase their earnings) as well as to purchase additional assets after RISE provides assistance with the first asset purchase.
Everyone who enters the program wants to purchase a home, but after they complete their financial education portion of the program, they realize that a home is not what they should set for their first asset goal. Just like Mr. Myron, who was having difficulty getting to work and had opportunities for other jobs but because he only had access to public transportation, he was unable to work the schedules that employers needed or to even work in the outlying areas of the county where public transportation is not available. So, purchasing a car through the Save Up program became the first asset goal for Mr. Myron. Having his own car was empowering for Mr. Myron because he could then work flexible hours, as well as transport his two children to the homes of relatives and friends when child care services were needed. Having a car also allowed him to lower some of his monthly expenditures because he paid neighbors and friends to take him grocery shopping and to medical appointments for his family.
Mr. Myron is proud to have affordable transportation for his family and now he plans to increase his earnings and continue his savings so that he will be able to purchase a home within the next few years! Through the skills and techniques that Mr. Myron learned at RISE he is confident that he will be able to continue to meet his future asset goals. . .one goal at a time!
The RISE Foundation had the opportunity to celebrate with 6 (out of the 11 inductees) Goal Card students who were inducted in the Booker T. Washington High School's National Honor Society for the 2012/2013 school year. With a total of 17 members, the 11 new members were eager to have such an honor placed on their academic record because it took hard work, commitment, and a focused mind to reach this milestone.
The majority of the students inducted live in the 38126 zip code/community, and have far exceeded the expectations of their peers, as well as some of their parents. One particular young lady, Cermeshia has worked tirelessly to succeed in all that she has been afforded. As an exceptional scholar, faithful band member, and aspiring actress/singer, Cermeshia has begun to see the fruits of her labor. She has had doors opened because of her positive attitude, optimism and committment to her own success. She had the opporunity to participate in the Hattiloo Theater and the RISE Foundation's partnership with the theater's Nutcracker production. She participated in several performances with her school band, and is now a newly inducted Honor Society member. Cermeshia became involved in the Goal Card Program believing that it would help her focus on her education and set her on a career path. She exemplifies the core values of the Goal Card Program, believing that Education + Incentives = Success.
Cermeshia and the rest of the Honor Society members are now preparing for a school beautification project in the lobby of Booker T. Washington High School which is also an atrium. In partnership with other Goal Card students at the school and Alumni supporters, this time next year the atrium will not only have beautiful green plans but improved air quality in the school as well. The students are looking forward to making great things happen during the spring semester!
Ms. Rosetta stands proudly as she holds her certificate that shows that she has completed the financial literacy class that is the first phase for all RISE Save Up participants. Ms. Rosetta's class ended on Sept. 27th with ten other women. Now she is ready to begin the Savings component with her first $75 deposit in her first savings account. This means that RISE will match her funds 2:1 and she starts off with $225.00 her first month and will be that much closer to making her first asset purchase. During the next 18 months, if she is able to save $1,000, RISE will match it with $2,000 and she will have enough to purchase a car that will do more than give her basic transportation.
Ms. Rosetta currently provides child care in her home but not having a car limits her to only keeping children whose parents are able to transport them to her home. She has several parents with work schedules that make this difficult, and having a car will allow her to at least transport the children home in the afternoon, so that other family members can supervise them until their parents arrive. Not having a car has caused her to turn down several mothers’ who really need her services. This may seem like a small need to some, but Ms. Rosetta wants to do more than just babysit a few children. She would like to build her business and having a car will certainly help her move closer to her long term goal of eventually having her own day care center. She's just taking one step at a time and RISE is helping her make these first steps through the Save Up program.
While in the saving's component, Ms. Rosetta hopes to secure additional business training so that she can be prepared to realize her dream of having her own business. Her business will not only help her family to improve their situation but she hopes to provide a safe, caring, nurturing and stimulating place for children so their mothers can improve their economic situation without having to worry about their children.
RISE and all of the program participants served in the Save Up program, thank you for your contributions. Remember, without your support Ms. Rosetta's dreams will not be possible!