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Mar 13, 2020

Pushing Forward

Youth Program
Youth Program

We have made a decision to continue this project given the need to continue our work in this region of the country. We have also made a decision to separate our efforts into multiple GlobalGiving projects ranging from our work with youth and our work toward digital inclusion in rural East Texas communities.

With the launch of our Financial Opportunities Center (FOC), we have added over 25 new participants in the month of February alone. All of them have a need for financial literacy and would like to improve their credit scores, net worth, and net income. Several are interested in starting their own microenterprise and we're helping them to achieve that. 

One of our participants mentioned, "I wish I had known about this years ago. I would have made so many different decisions." 

These comments drive us to continue this important work. We now teach and mentor over 200 middle school students and will continue to work with them until they graduate from High School. Financial literacy will be as prevalent in their thoughts as any other subject they've studied. 

Thank you for your continued support!

Dec 16, 2019

Mission Accomplished!

I first would like to thank everyone who contributed to this project! While our financial goal has been accomplished, I wanted to inform you that our goal of educating 300 students is still underway! 

This project has allowed us to purchase the materials we needed to provide three published books (from well-known authors) and our full-color binder consisting of over 100 color pages (plus the binder itself) at no cost to the 200 or so students we've had at no cost to them! Often, these students are unemployed and are unable to pay the $250 fee it would cost if we were to charge them individually. Your contributions have allowed us to purchase many items in bulk and to receiving matching or in-kind donations from a few of our generous partners in Lufkin, TX. 

I also wanted to share a story of one of our students who is currently enrolled in our program. She came to our door with no job, diagnosed with a mental disability, and was beginning to lose hope. She walked in to purchase something from our restaurant and juice bar. After having a conversation with her, she and I realized that God brought us together! We discussed her financial situation and she wanted to enroll in our program. After only two months of financial courses and coaching, she is now employed, off of disability, and she has a budget! She has taken control over her life and with the help of God, she will continue to grow. 

Fortunately, she was willing to write a testimonial of how we've helped her. The FOC she refers to is what our financial literacy has become, a Financial Opportunity Center.

"I feel more confident about learning how to manage my finances better. I finally see a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m more mindful about spending money on things that are not total necessities. 

The employment training has allowed me to find my path. After being on disability for two years, I forgot how to clock in and out at a job. Because of my time at the Juzi Spot, I’m building my confidence. It makes me feel important and valuable. It feels good to have to be somewhere at a certain time every day. I’m finally gaining my confidence again. My experience here is empowering me to reach for bigger goals.

Since I’ve become a client of the FOC, I have informed SSI that I’m no longer in need of my disability income. I am striving to be self-sufficient.

I’m also benefitting from LIFE Tech. For more than a year, I’ve been paying Aaron’s about $135 per month for my computer. The total cost would have been over $3,000 when you include all of the interest for a computer worth less than $1,300. LIFE Tech was able to provide me a similar machine for less than $250 through their refurbishing program. That saved me $135 per month, and I still have a computer!

Overall, it was a blessing that I found LIFE. It’s helped me threefold. Not only is the advice I’m receiving from the FOC beneficial, but it’s allowing me to work within my passion. After being labeled with a disability, I was determined to overcome that stereotype. I then learned that I could heal my body through a healthy lifestyle. As a vegan restaurant, the Juzi Spot allows me to work in an environment that serves my passion to enlighten others on the benefits of being health conscious. This allows me to continue to be mindful of my goals. Being surrounded by like-minded individuals and healthy food is therapeutic for me in all aspects of my life." - J. Morris

This was possible because of your contributions. Thank you and we will continue to keep you informed as we do our part in God's work.

Sep 16, 2019

We're Open!

The Juzi Spot
The Juzi Spot

We have a very important announcement to make: The LIFE House is officially open for business! As a reminder, we have taken on the mission of teaching financial literacy, creating economic stability, and building generational wealth. We now have a vehicle by which we can directly address the economic stability of our community. We have launched two work experience programs. 

The first is called "The Juzi Spot." This effort provides job training, experience, and certifications for those who would like to enter into the foodservice industry. The second is called "LIFE Tech" which provides the same benefits for those who would like to begin a career/business in the information technology field. 

Along with our partners (T.L.L. Temple Foundation, Angelina College, Workforce Solutions, and Rural LISC), we are looking to challenge the status quo head-on. North Lufkin has a median household income of approximately $14,000 per year with an average household size of three, which is well below the poverty line. Our programs seek to allow participants to position themselves to earn a living wage for this region (approx. $24,000/yr.).

Once again, thank you all for your support and prayers and we continue this journey to positively affect our community in the most impactful way?

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