Meet Keisha. Keisha is 31 years old and from a rural town 100 miles away from Rutherford County. You would never know it today but just a couple of years ago, Keisha was struggling with substance abuse. Her addiction led to a series of bad decisions and as a result, she was arrested. During her incarceration, Keisha committed herself to staying sober. Keisha began researching treatment programs and found one in Rutherford County with the highest success rate of any other recovery programs in the region. Once Keisha was released from prison, she moved to Rutherford County to begin treatment.
After successfully completing the program, Keisha decided to permanently move to Rutherford County. “There are so many more opportunities for jobs here than in my hometown. I also had developed a strong network of support with new friends and a mentor that I met while I was in the recovery program,” said Keisha.
Keisha found employment at a local healthcare facility where she cleans surgical rooms. For the first time in her life, Keisha had health insurance and was earning good wages. She was also sober. Keisha began setting short and long-term goals for herself. There was just one problem. Keisha did not know how to manage her money and was faced with mounting debt from legal fees.
“What a lot of people do not understand is how expensive it is to come out of prison,” said Kristen Swann of the United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties. “There are court fines, driver’s license reinstatement fees and probation fees, and that’s all on top of ordinary living expenses.”
Keisha learned of Launch Point, a financial empowerment program of the United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties, through her mentor. The program offers pathways for participants to increase savings, improve credit, purchase a home or car, pay off loans and increase earning potential. Launch Point provides individuals with trusted resources to help them gain greater control over their personal financial goals. Launch Point is powered by State Farm Companies Foundation Good Neighbor Citizenship® Company Grant.
Keisha began working with Regina Harvey of Dominion Financial, which serves as a Launch Point program partner. Keisha and Regina began meeting every two weeks. “I knew nothing about budgeting and Regina showed me how. She didn’t just do the work for me, but she coached me through each step,” said Keisha.
“When Keisha first started meeting with me, she said she wanted to learn how to budget and manage her money,” said Regina. “She didn’t know how to make a budget. More importantly, she realized this was a crucial step in rebuilding her life. I often tell people goals are building blocks and not the end result. Keisha was willing to do the work. Her motivation and dedication to rebuilding her life is inspiring.”
Today, Keisha is renting a home in Murfreesboro and pursuing opportunities to become a dental assistant.
“Before beginning the program, I did not have a plan or structure to accomplish my goals. The Launch Point program has changed my life. I now love the new life I am building,” said Keisha.
Click here to learn more about the United Way's Bold Goals.
Click here to learn more about the Launch Point program.
Good Neighbor Citizenship® Company Grant
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