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!
Ms. LaTonya purchased her first home in 2006 as a participant in the Save Up. Since then she has purchased a car, computer, made several home improvements and now her daughter is in college a year earlier than expected. Ms. LaTonya also went back to school and completed her undergraduate degree so that she could get a better position to support her family. When asked how she was able to do this, she shares that it was the financial literacy tools and skills that she gained in the Save Up program. She started saving only $25.00 a month and then 10% of her total income and now she proudly boasts that she is saving 15% of income each pay period and proudly admits that it has become a habit. She has shared the skills that she learned not only with her family members but also with her co-workers and who ever asks her "How are you able to do so much ?".
Ms. LaTonya convincingly shares that saving money is something that she things about first before making any type of purchase - from food, to cloths and major purchases. Credit is only used if absolutely necessary. So as you can see an investment in the Save Up program is an investment in helping families to make better choices for the rest of their lives.
When Ms. Tee entered the Save Up program in Memphis, Tennessee; she had been dependent on government housing subsidies for 13 years. She was tired of paying rent for something that could she could never call her own. She also wanted a nice place to raise her daughter, in a safe neighborhood. So, when she heard about the RISE-Save Up Program, she felt that this was "a blessing sent from heaven".
Ms. Tee attended the financial education classes offered by RISE, and immediately started saving $75 each month until she reached $1,000. This allowed her to receive $2,000 from RISE ( with the 2 for 1 match) to purchase that home that she had dreamed about for so long. While saving, she also attended a home buyers education class, as suggested by RISE; to prepare her for home ownership and to know the in's and out's of working with a realtor, mortgage company, etc. So when Ms. T looked at several houses, she knew the 3 bedroom, 2 bath home in East Memphis was going to be her forever home. As she looked at her spending plan, with the purchase of this home, her monthly housing costs would only increase $185 a month. She realized that she could afford this increase and still have enough to pay her self each month (save). She would move from being a recipient of services provided by taes to becoming a tax payer. No more government subsidies for her!
Ms. Tee is still employed full-time and continues to be careful with her budget and spending habits. She is also passing these skills on to her daughter so she can develop healthy financial habits and someday acquire her assets to pass on to her children.
Thank you for your support in helping us to help families like Ms. T, as we fulfill our mission of empowering people to become self-sufficient by building and sustaining human and financial assets.
The Save Up program continues to educate families on how to make better financial decisions in preparation for asset purchase. Twelve (12) new participants completed the intensive six-week financial literacy course. During that time, a Save Up participant, Sheena Harper, purchased her first home. RISE coordinated a ribbon-cutting to formally welcome Harper and her son to her home, along with Save Up funders, Kemmons Wilson Family Foundation. Harper entered the program in 2010. Her home purchase is one of many asset purchases that total $5.9 M to help better our families and community.
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