Ms. Taylor, a divorced mother of four, entered the Save Up Program in March of 2013 with dreams of becoming a homeowner.
Getting to the six weekly financial management workshops was a challenge for Ms. Taylor. Her plate was full as a mother, a graduate student, and a full-time social services worker. In January 2014, she was able to purchase her home.
Ms. Taylor believes that being a part of the Save Up Program enhanced her life in many ways.
She says that Save Up has helped her to set financial goals. She said, “I want to be sure that I take the knowledge that I have gained one step further by saving and investing my tax returns this year. I have been doing the research so I can make an informed decision on how to invest my money."
She has also shared with her children the importance of developing good spending and saving habits. She says, "I want them to grow up making financially sound decisions.”
Ms. Taylor was able to make her dream of homeownership a reality with the knowledge and skills that she acquired in the Save Up program!
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!
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