Meet Cheranda: The three years since she got sober have been full of superlatives for Cheranda: the longest she’s had a job, the most time she’s stayed at an apartment, and – with the help of EARN – the most she’s ever had in savings.
Cheranda's life was turbulent from an early age. The youngest of six siblings, Cheranda has lived in Portland, Oregon most of her life. Growing up, her mother had debilitating mental health issues and was violent with Cheranda and her siblings.
After a particularly violent incident, Cheranda ended up in foster care. Ten years old and separated from her sisters and mother, "That was when I started drinking," she says.
Cheranda's long path to sobriety has been incredibly challenging - but looking back, she says, "Everything I've been through makes me who I am today," giving her the determination and strength to take control of her life.
Cheranda says she learned about EARN at exactly the right time in her life. After getting sober, she started working at New Seasons Market, a Portland grocery store that emphasizes social and environmental responsibility - a company Cheranda describes as a "fantastic employer." With a steady income, she was finally in a position to start saving. Still, she struggled with the motivation to put money away and not touch it.
The key to Cheranda's success with EARN was her monthly savings goal, which was meaningful and doable. It gave her a new attitude toward saving. The experience of saving every month with EARN, she says, taught her to be "disciplined about my spending and saving."
Previously, even when she tried to save, she would use her savings if anything came up. Now, she asks herself, "Is this a need or a want?" and only dips into her savings if it's a true emergency.
Through EARN’s savings program and her own hard work, Cheranda is on track to save enough money to put the down payment on a house within the next few years. "I know that's a while down the road," she says, "but I'm so excited about it."
She’s even planning to return to school this fall to go through an eight-month humanities program for adults who have been out of school for a long time. This is a big deal for Cheranda, who jokes that it's been so long since she's been in school that she "hardly remember[s] it."
Through EARN, Cheranda says she's learned how rewarding it is to save and has become more aware of her spending habits. She's even exceeding her savings goals so that she can put down a larger down payment on the house.