Erica, a Save Up participant, worked in manufacturing and wanted to make a better life for herself and her two sons. After completing the financial literacy component of Save Up, Erica began saving. She saved enough to purchase her first asset - a new computer! She and her sons use the computer for schoolwork. Erica has gone back to school and hopes to open her own business after completing her education. She is still saving and working towards her next asset goal!
She has found having a computer to be especially helpful for her family because her sons are able to do their homework without having to go to the library. She also finds it helpful in advancing her career because she is able to fill out job applications online. She says that the computer has been a lifeline for her family.
Your support helps savers like Erica - and the 550 current savers and graduates - learn the skills that they need to help their families build better lives. We look forward to sharing more of the successes of our program participants!
Through a partnership with a local Community Development Corporation, Mr. and Mrs. Abram came to us with the goal of purchasing a home for their family. Mr. Abram (a minister) during the course of participating in Save Up was able to secure additional employment as a teacher, which allowed his wife to remain home with their three children. Both parents came to the Save Up financial literacy classes and began saving for their home that was already identified by the Community Development Corporation that connected them to RISE. Having a house in mind to buy made it easier for them to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It also made participation in the program pretty easy for both of them because they could see how savings was important in reaching their asset goal.
In August, 2013, the Abrams were finally able to close on their home, valued at $76,000. It was the home that had been restored by the Community Development Corporation and located in a community that both parents felt was safe for their children and close to their church and other community resources important to their family. Because of their involvement with RISE and the Community Development Corporation they were able to take advantage of programs that lowered their closing costs and even had money left in their savings with RISE that can be used for additional improvements to their home.
Now that the home is purchased, the Abrams won't stop saving because they know that this house is now their home. They know that continuing to save will help them to make sure that their home is maintained properly. They will continue to save for up keep costs on their home and start to look at how they can pay for their children's college education. According to Mr. Abram, "It feels good for this house to finally be a place that they can call HOME!”
The RISE Foundation Save Up program held the 6th Annual RISE Family Reunion on April 27, 2013. The event was held at the Pink Palace Museum from 5pm until 8pm. (The reunion is always held in a location with a cultural emphasis or where program participants may not have ever had an opportunity to visit.) Attendees were former RISE Save Up graduates, asset owners, and current Save Up program participants. Also in attendance were RISE staff, and RISE Board Members.
Attendees were given the opportunity to explore the Pink Palace museum and view all of the current exhibits at their own pace. At the conclusion of the museum tour, attendees took a reunion photograph to show their support for RISE and the Save Up program. After the photo, RISE had a catered dinner prepared for attendees that consisted of finger foods, sandwiches, veggies, and assorted beverages. Each table has a special “Chalkboard” Piggy Bank as the centerpiece with the words “Pay Yourself First” on it. Each attendee signed the piggy bank at their table as a testament that they pay themselves first and are serious about their savings.
The board chair Mike Bruno made a short motivational speech to attendees, and RISE president Linda Williams also spoke to attendees about the RISE mission and the importance of saving and paying yourself first.
The Save Up program coordinator then held a brief awards ceremony that recognized the firsts of RISE asset owners for the fiscal year. The categories were First Homeowner, First Computer, First Education, and First Vehicle Purchase. There were also awards given for the first RSVP and a Saver’s Perseverance award was given to Ms. Sandra Parson.
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!
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!
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