Last year, Melody and her children moved to the South Shore neighborhood into a home all their own. It was unlike the apartments or shared living spaces they’d become accustomed to. As a single mother, with kids ranging from ages three to 16, this was a meaningful experience for the whole family. A family that works together as a team by sharing the responsibilities of chores and homework.
Working as a phlebotomist, Melody spends much of her day commuting to her job on the far north side, which takes approximately an hour and a half one way. It’s not easy, but it’s her part of the team effort, and she happily spends the time and energy so that her family can have a place of their own. She has real goals for her family – short term, mid term, and long term goals focused on self-sufficiency, success, and achievement. All of her efforts – the commuting, the long shifts, the children’s responsibilities – ultimately lead to the end goal of financial security.
“I want that stability. I’m tired of having to pick what bills to pay month to month. I’m tired of not having the basics in my house for my kids.”
Hard working and determined, Melody’s goals lead her to Heartland Alliance’s Asset Building program that helps individuals accrue assets – like a home, a retirement account, a college degree – to help build financial security. In Melody’s case, it was about starting on the right foot and building her savings account.
“I met Barbara my case manager, and she helped me figure out how to start from the beginning. Things like writing out your budget, paying yourself first. That first twenty bucks in every paycheck should be stashed away – treated like it was an expense.”
The Asset Building program incentivizes saving by matching every dollar on a 1:1 basis up to $200. In her first few months, she achieved the first goal and more. She then signed up for the program’s IDEA Initiative, a branch of the Asset Building program that provides educational tools and seminars focused on financial education, housing and career development.
From building credit and reducing debt, to learning the ins-and-outs of home ownership, Melody has been spending the little free time she has by partaking in the trainings and seminars. To her, it’s all about achieving her family’s short, mid, and long term goals through knowledge and action.
“I’m a nerd. I’m always ready to learn new things, and this has been an opportunity for me to learn new things that better myself and my family.”
With a newly bolstered savings, the family’s financial security is better than ever. Melody has been able to shift her focus toward ensuring her children’s success and continuing her own education. In the coming years, she expects to receive her nursing degree and eventually become a nurse practitioner.
“Right now, it’s about helping me and my kids succeed. We’re going to start having graduations, promotions, things like that – and I want us to be ready for all of it.”
Today, Melody and her children are enjoying their new home and new sense of security. They spend the evenings together, doing homework and finishing up the day’s responsibilities. One of Melody’s happiest achievements of the year has made those nights even sweeter – a new kitchen table, big enough for everyone to sit down together.
It’s a great spot for homework and dinner. They sit together for Saturday breakfasts and spend time enjoying one another, despite the hectic day-to-day and countless responsibilities. With a new home, a new nest egg, and their new table, Melody and the family are feeling more and more hopeful for the future every day.
“This has all just been so relieving. I feel like I’m ready for whatever comes next, and I know I have help with Heartland Alliance’s Asset Building team.”
Learn more about Heartland Alliance’s Asset Building program at heartlandalliance.org/assetbuilding.