Reducing Poverty One Family at a Time!

Shannon and Edward

Beating the Odds

Edward and Shannon felt stuck.  They were living on cash assistance and food stamps trying to build a better future for their daughter.  Shannon was unable to work due to mental health issues that began after a terrible car accident that left her physically scarred and struggling to maintain focus.  It felt like the world was stacked against her.  Edward was motivated to support the family but his limited English left him struggling to find adequate work.  It seemed hopeless.  They began attending Support Circles in Franklin County.  Edward didn’t talk for the first two month because he was so worried about his limited English proficiency.  Shannon was more vocal and began taking a leadership role in the class.  She took avid notes and worked ahead in the workbook.  It was quickly evident that both Shannon and Edward were incredibly competent and capable and they had the drive to work hard to make their dreams come true.  Over the coming months Edward began participating more and sharing his life story and his hopes and dreams. They decided one way of giving back was to bring wonderful home-baked desserts to each Support Circle meeting.  Both are fantastic cooks!  Half way through the curriculum they were evicted because they could not afford their rent.  Life was so tough yet still they kept coming to Support Circles, wanting a better future and willing to work hard for it.  A crisis that would have derailed them in the past was quickly handled and they regrouped to work toward their future.  They created a plan and set goals – they felt ready to face what lay ahead.  Shannon and Edward were both matched with three volunteers and began putting their plans in action.  Edward worked with his allies to find a tutor to help him with English and began only talking in English at home and when he was out.  He began only listening to English music and movies.  He worked with his tutor on reading in English too.  After providing so many wonderful desserts for Support Circles and with his English improving he decided to apply at a local bakery.  They offered him a trial position part time baking in the morning.  He quickly caught on and became the full time baker.  When one of the machines recently broke down, Edward was able to find the booklet for the machine online and read the English instructions to fix the machine.  His confidence has grown by leaps and bounds and he talks frequently at meetings no longer worried he will say the wrong thing.   Shannon decided to enroll in a Culinary Class program and spent 8 weeks learning basic culinary skills.  After that she was able to become employed for the first time since her accident.  She was able to find a job that works around their daughter’s school schedule so they don’t need to pay for child care.  They attended a budgeting and credit class and began working on their credit with the hopes of one day being able to purchase a home.  Edward and his allies John and Craig have become good friends.  When Shannon and Edward’s car broke down and needed a new radiator, Edward and his ally, Craig, put it in.  Shannon and Edward went out with John and Peg for Peg’s birthday and they brought flowers for Peg – she was so touched! They have moved off government assistance and are working their way out of poverty.   Their spendable income has increased from $195.00 per month in cash assistance to more than $1,600 per month earned income (they are now above the Government’s poverty threshold).  They have moved into a safe and beautiful apartment and they both feel like their future is bright.