Making Lemonade Out of Lemons - United Way Bay Area
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Making Lemonade Out of Lemons

July 6, 2018

David went from a career-ending injury to running his own business. See how.



Often we think of poverty as something that afflicts others, but could never happen to us. The truth is that it could happen to any one of us, at any time—just ask David. One day he was gainfully employed, healthy, and financially stable; the next he suffered a career-ending injury on the job, causing him to struggle both physically and financially.

“My money was getting thin, and I saw the advertisement [for SparkPoint]…at first I was skeptical, but then I saw in the fine print, United Way..” David says. “I thought okay, this is probably for real.” It was.

A cornerstone of United Way Bay Area’s poverty-fighting efforts, SparkPoint offers low-income individuals and families free one-on-one financial and career coaching and education to help them build brighter futures for themselves and their families.

David worked with his SparkPoint coach to manage his expenses, set a budget, and get his finances in order—then he decided to turn his passion for Tai Chi into a career: “I thought, ‘why not start a business around what helped me in the first place?’”.

David soon began teaching classes in Tai Chi, an ancient Chinese exercise and philosophy which has helped him enormously in recovering from his debilitating injury.

“I was absolutely clueless on how to start a business and how to run a business. SparkPoint provided a template, and helped me refine my ideas and goals, gave me direction and a sounding board. It’s been really wonderful. They have helped me so much. I really don’t think I could have done it without them,” David says.

David is making great strides in his mobility, working hard to grow his new business, and becoming financially stable once again. He is also inspiring others.

A student of David’s, Serena, had this to say of her teacher: “David is a fabulous Tai Chi teacher. He helped me recover from a yoga injury and through his patient teaching and encouragement, I now have a wonderful practice which I plan to do for the rest of my life… I have seen him work with older adults with all sorts of physical issues and he offers them all the same patient guidance and good humor.”

This story is unique, but not uncommon. Last year SparkPoint provided free financial coaching to 5,504 Bay Area residents like David.

Learn more about SparkPoint here.