Jessie's Story

Jessie's Story

Jessie B. is a single mother of three children—12-year-old twin girls and a five-year-old boy. When she joined Level Up last December, she was employed full-time as a contractor for a government agency. But she had dreams of becoming a medical coder.

United Way simplifies complex systems.

Our Level Up Family Career Navigator, Talisa Rogers-Hall, researched medical coding programs and learned that WorkOne received funding to pay for medical coding certification. Navigating through WorkOne is challenging, and becoming connected to a Career Advisor isn’t an easy process. With the advice of a WorkOne employee serving on the United Way ALICE Jobs Work Group, Talisa created a specific pathway for clients to become connected to WorkOne services.

United Way encourages self-advocacy.

Once Jessie expressed her interest in taking the medical coding certification course to her WorkOne Career Advisor, she was hesitant to follow-up too frequently. She didn’t want to “bother” the Career Advisor. Based on advice from WorkOne employees, the Family Career Navigator encouraged Jessie to call 2-3 times per week letting the Career Advisor know how taking this course will positively impact her family. Jessie’s application was accepted!

United Way builds trust.

Last fall, Jessie was diagnosed with cancer. As a contractor, she did not have health benefits at her job, and the bills began to pile up. At our monthly Level Up meeting, we talked about the common challenges that ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) families face. We talked about the hard reality that people living paycheck-to-paycheck are only one financial crisis away from poverty or homelessness. That’s when Jessie opened up. She was six months behind on her mortgage and about to go into foreclosure.

United Way connects people to resources they don’t know about.

When she did open up, Talisa connected her to the Hardest Hit Fund. The Hardest Hit Fund prevents avoidable foreclosure and helps stabilize the housing market. The fund may provide up to six months or $30,000 in mortgage payment assistance for approved homeowners. Jessie qualified. She saved her home. In addition, United Way used Barrier Buster funds to provide a gas card so that she could make it to her next paycheck.

Now, secure in her home and registered for the medical coding course funded by WorkOne, Jessie has plans to create a home repair savings fund through the Individual Development Account program, which matches her savings $3 for every $1 she contributes. She is looking forward to starting the course and seeking better paying employment this fall.

Your support of Lake Area United Way helps people like Jessie navigate the support systems in our community so that they can move towards self-sufficiency.