When the student becomes the teacher. - United Way Bay Area
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When the student becomes the teacher.

July 24, 2018

Ramona relates to parents in her class because she’s been there—literally.

Like many people living in poverty, Ramona believed she was stuck working labor-intensive, minimum-wage jobs for life. She was living and thinking day-to-day, and soon found herself drowning in credit card debt and feeling helpless; she didn’t think her financial situation would ever improve. Ramona did not understand budgeting or credit, but wanted to—fortunately she found SparkPoint Napa.

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.

Ramona began attending SparkPoint classes and soon learned about other services. She started financial coaching and credit counseling and learned how to manage her money. With SparkPoint’s support, Ramona paid down her credit card debt, opened savings accounts for her kids, and turned her finances—and life—around.

She also took advantage of SparkPoint’s career coaching and the many opportunities for growth and leadership at the Center. Ramona is now taking GED classes and has a job at SparkPoint Napa where she leads classes for other parents. It’s a perfect job for her as she is a great role model, having gone so far with her own goals.

Ramona’s experience with SparkPoint has also positively impacted her children, who say they are proud of their mother and that the experience has increased their own senses of responsibility. They are more aware of the importance of education and one of her children wants to work during the summer to grow their college savings. Though Spanish is her primary language, Ramona is now better able to communicate with her children in English, which has enabled her to take a more active role in her children’s education.

Even though things are looking up, Ramona says she appreciates that she is able to check in with SparkPoint staff around her finances and feels supported by others to improve her life.