The best way to share the impact of the Goal Card program is to look at what happens after the students leave the program. We are proud of all of our graduates, but the program is of no value unless it leads students to finish high school and enter post-Secondary education. Brian is one of those Goal Card stories that we would love to share with you:
Goal Card Scholar: Brian
Status: Currently a rising junior at Morehouse College (Atlanta, GA)
School: STAX Soulsville Charter School Graduate--2013
Highlights: National Honors Society Member--2011
Term: Goal Card Member (7 years)
Brian enrolled in the Goal Card program when the program was in its infancy stage at College Park. As one of the longest standing members of the Goal Card, he and his dad (Byron) are firm believers of the program’s philosophy and know from first-hand experience what the program can provide for students who participate fully.
Brian has adjusted well to college life and looks to begin his junior year at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. He carriers a solid B+ average into his third year and that is quiet impressive for a first-generation college student.
As a highly motivated individual, Brian is driven to succeed in life. Even in college, he continues to work inside as well as outside of the classroom by helping others and donating time to community service projects. Brian is majoring in business and has a strong interest in computer programming and information technology. Brian has returned home for the summer break and is presently working as an intern at Federal Express. He has personally shared with staff that his time in the Goal Card program helped motivate him to want more out of life than just a weekly paying job - Brian wants a career!
Brian is an example of how your contribution is important and it is truly making a difference in the lives of inner city youth. The more you give, the more RISE's Goal Card program can expand its reach to serve more youth in the Memphis community.
To all of the supporters of the RISE Common Cents Program,
When I look at this class picture, I remember what life was like for me when I first came to RISE. I cashed my check at the corner check cashing place in my neighborhood because I thought that banks were for people who had a lot of money. So paying $8.00 a week to cash my check was something that I, along with all of the people that I knew, did without a second thought.
When I got my check, I always paid my rent and then my utilities. Since my four children needed to have a little fun, I always either took them roller skating or at least out to McDonalds for a nice meal. By the time I paid for these extras, $50.00 easily left my purse. Of course, I needed to buy food for the week and by the time I finished grocery shopping, my funds were in a negative state. I always tried to keep a credit card but when it reached the limit, it was always embarrassing to have your purchases rejected. If my kids were with me, it felt even worse. I cried inside when they held their heads down and looked to see if anyone they knew was nearby.
When I had enough of barely living paycheck to paycheck, I decided that I needed to do better. A friend of mine had gone through the Common Cents program and she always talked about how it helped her to not only pay her bills but to start a savings account for emergencies. So I went to RISE and I clearly remembered being seated in the chairs around tables with other who were learning how they could make better choices with their pay checks.
The instructor talked to us about short term and long term goals. This allowed me to dream a little. I wanted to be debt free first and then try saving for a better place for me and my kids to live. So my goal was to become debt free and RISE helped me with putting together a plan to reach this goal. I am proud to say that now three years later, I am not only debt free, but have a checking and savings account with a job that pays more. RISE helped me to understand that using banks will actually save me money and it’s a safe place for my money to be kept. One day I want to purchase a home - in a good neighborhood with good schools, but I know it takes time. With my plan – I know I can do it!
Thanks to RISE and the Common Cents trainers, things are really looking up for me.
A Common Cents Class Participant who is still learning
With your support RISE can reach more families like Ms. B, who is pictured in this classroom. We may not be able to actually provide better jobs to those we touch, but we can help them to make better financial choices with the resources they have.
The Save Up program has helped many low-income families in our community to do incredible things with their meager earnings. I would like to share with you one of our success stories, that involves a hardworking mother, Ms. Tee:
Ms. Tee, a divorced mother of four sons ages 14-19, saw a lifelong dream come to fruition when she closed on a home of her own.
A Department Tech for a local nonprofit, which serves people with disabilities, Ms. Tee spends her workdays shuttling clients to and from doctors’ appointments. Although Ms. Tee always dreamed of becoming a homeowner, she never believed homeownership was within her reach – that is, until she heard about RISE through a coworker.
Ms. Tee enrolled in the Save Up Program, which teaches participants how to create a budget based on their personal income and expenses, and how to obtain and improve their credit scores and credit reports. The Save Up Program also helps participants establish bank accounts and purchase assets.
RISE then helps participants obtain asset-specific training as needed, at no cost to the participant. For example, those saving for homeownership will need to complete homebuyer education classes. Finally, RISE will help Save Up participants purchase the asset for which they’ve saved. Assets include homes, cars, computers, post-secondary classes and small businesses.
“Being in the Save Up Program was a faith builder,” said Ms. Tee, who moved her family into their new home this past December. “Now I feel that I can accomplish anything. RISE is a symbol of me having faith in myself. Learning how to budget and save has helped me to purchase a home. My next goal is to save for my children’s college education.”
With your help and support, the RISE Save Up program can help create even more successfull stories like Ms. Tee's. We currently have a waiting list and with more support, can help more low-income working families to make better choices that benefit their families. .
We are counting on you!
Karen Madlock, RISE Save Up Program Coordinator