Tish grew up in a low-income neighborhood with her mother and two siblings. Her mother, a single parent, worked three jobs to support them. Tish knew all along that she would do her best to break the cycle of poverty. She went to college and did everything she knew how to do to change the future for her five children. Her kids were not going to grow up in a low-income neighborhood as she had done.
“I wanted to change my financial picture so it wouldn’t look like my mother’s,” said Tish. “A lot of times there are obstacles. Wanting my kids to grow up in the suburbs and not in low-income housing caused me to live beyond my means, and that is where a lot of my financial hardships came from.”
One day while at the library with her kids, Tish saw a flyer for free financial coaching offered by United Way in partnership with the Financial Opportunity Corps. She just knew she had to make that call.
Financial coaches help participants like Tish develop strategies to reduce debt, improve credit, start saving for emergencies, access benefits and build assets for long-term financial health. “Obstacles can be overcome, but you have to turn them into opportunities,” said Tish. “Sometimes you need that person to walk alongside you to help you turn those obstacles into opportunities.
“My financial coach Bill Kresser has gone above and beyond. Bill has been a mentor, and a coach. He is someone I can call and talk to about new job opportunities. He will go through and dissect them with me to see if they would be beneficial.”
Tish is now on a path to financial stability that she would not have found without her financial coach. “Being a financial coach does not just change one person’s life,” she said. “Working with a parent who will pass those skills on to her children could change the trajectory of an entire generation.”
The Financial Opportunity Corps is a partnership between Points of Light, Bank of America and the Corporation for National and Community Service. It includes 20 AmeriCorps VISTA members serving nonprofit organizations in 10 cities around the country and will expand to more cities this year. The Financial Opportunity Corps is partnering with United Way of Tarrant County as part of United Way’s 10-year EARN WELL financial stability initiative.