Mariana struggled to make ends meet for her family. She felt trapped in an endless circle of poverty and minimum wage jobs. After saving with EARN things began to change. Mariana realized that savings is a behavior and a habit, saying that “It doesn’t matter what your economic situation is, money is always going to be tight, but saving gives me freedom and choices I never had before.” With EARN, Mariana saved for a safe home for her family in Oakland.
As a single mom, Debra felt as though she couldn’t achieve her goals. She had decided to return to school to get her AA degree but lacked support from family and friends who didn’t value higher education. Debra says, “They didn’t understand why school was important to me and this made me feel alone. I was driven but didn’t have a support group to share my successes. At one time I was on public assistance and food stamps – it’s not what I wanted but my son and I needed it. I felt shame in needing this type of assistance.”
Then Debra found EARN and began saving. “The staff was compassionate. I was always treated with dignity and was able to learn new things all of the time with workshops and other training.” With this newfound support and community Debra was able to complete her AA degree. She says, “I could never make any sense of budgeting before EARN. EARN taught me how to break down budgeting into smaller pieces to make them achievable and realistic. Saving is a real accomplishment for me. Sometimes, when I’m struggling, I remember the feeling I get from saving and the strength I get from the community at EARN.” Debra is still saving, this time for her son’s college education.
After giving birth to her oldest son, Gingi felt deeply empowered. Her dream was to become a midwife and open her own practice. Gingi’s two passions were motherhood and dancing, which she hoped to combine by teaching birth movement classes. However, before joining EARN, Gingi says that, “I never thought I could achieve my dream. I was always stressed about finances, and I couldn’t afford the simplest outings with my family.”
Saving with EARN taught Gingi to never to give up on her dreams. She saved to invest in her own midwife education and the education of her sons.
“Because of EARN, I’m achieving my dream of helping other women through one of the most important times in their lives.”
With EARN’s help, they both saved their money for a math tutor. EARN matched their savings.
Now Ricardo just took the SAT and is hoping to apply to Cal. ”I want to be the first in my family to go to college,” Ricardo says.
Audrey is the Development Manager at EARN. She is responsible for maintaining and growing EARN’s foundation, corporate, and government funding streams.