Esmeralda is a 22-year-old mother of two young boys. As a single mom, it’s been a challenging road for her and her family. She has always been eager to make a better life for herself, but, as a teenager, limited support at home left Esmeralda without a stable path to success. Still, Esmeralda was determined to have a successful career, which would enable her to pay down her debt, keep up with expenses, put food on the table and, in the end, do more than make ends meet. Her determination was the beginning of a new journey and making the best of a difficult situation.
While attending high school, she was involved in a program that trained high school students to become IRS Certified tax preparers for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. This gave her an opportunity to help people get back the dollars they earned through federal and state tax refunds or credits. Through her volunteer work she also learned about other financial support services that helped working families get ahead. That information stayed with her.
Several years out of high school as an adult, she remembered that information and that she could possibly benefit from the same services she was able to offer others in high school.
Through a network of United Way partners focused on financial security, Esmeralda has been given opportunities and an extra boost to help her succeed. In addition to obtaining free tax preparation assistance and learning how to better manage what she earns, she was connected to several services and referrals that guided her search for housing and energy assistance, and helped her secure childcare.
Throughout her experience with United Way-supported programs, Esmeralda has also received academic support, help with developing work-readiness and computer skills, as well as guidance with resume building and job searches and placement. She is one of more than 2,100 people who improved career skills last year through gifts to United Way.
The support Esmeralda received enabled her to move forward and feel empowered. As an independent, confident woman determined to have a better life for her and her family, Esmeralda is now working toward a successful career in healthcare.
“Our main goal is to get our participants into college,” said Leticia Mangual, from Human Resources Agency (HRA) of New Britain, a United Way financial securi
ty partner. “We also help them advocate for themselves and become independent. All of our participants come to us because they want something out of life, and are committed to being successful at home and at work.”
Esmeralda has goals for her sons and herself. “I want them to have a good education and be somebody someday; just like I want to be somebody,” said Esmeralda.
Esmeralda is currently a Certified Nursing Assistant and is enrolled in college, hoping to become a registered nurse. She is on her way to fulfilling her dreams, becoming financially secure and leading the life we all hope for our children and ourselves.
United Way invests in financial security programs and initiatives that work with results we can measure. Gifts directly to United Way assist families to become financially secure and independent. This is one way United Way, its partners and caring people like you build a stronger community and create lasting, positive change for all of us.