MARCIA'S STORY - United Way Bay Area
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MARCIA'S STORY

NAVIGATING FINANCIAL BURDENS AND FOOD INSECURITY TO COMPLETE HIGHER EDUCATION

 

As a mother of three small children and a first-generation college student with ADHD, Marcia was finding it difficult to navigate the complicated processes of securing financial aid for her college studies. She was also having challenges accessing the College’s Food Pantry, a food assistance program provided in partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank, while caring for her family.

When Marcia first came to the SparkPoint Center at Cañada Community College, she brought along her two-year-old daughter. SparkPoint® Centers work with families to meet their basic needs, increase their income, build their credit, increase their savings, and reduce their debt. Financial coaches work one-on-one with clients to recognize behavioral outcomes, set goals, brainstorm strategies, and set realistic action plans. SparkPoint gave Marcia a place where she could feel comfortable visiting with children in tow, ask her questions, and speak candidly about the financial hardship she was experiencing.

 

“I felt like I came to the right place.” – Marcia

 

Shortly after, COVID-19 hit, and Marcia began feeling the pressure of keeping up on her rent while attending to her studies. SparkPoint was able to provide rental relief for Marcia and her family, alleviating some of the financial pressures the pandemic had created and allowing Marcia to refocus on college.

With the help of SparkPoint’s coaches, Marcia started actively managing her budget, building her credit, accessing the food pantry, and applying for scholarships. Marcia graduated magna cum laude and a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She achieved her Associate’s degree in Digital Art and Animation with a certificate in web design.

 

“If it weren’t for SparkPoint I would still be wandering around the hallways of Cañada College trying to learn how to access services.”