After raising two children and working two full-time jobs just to make ends meet, Kimberly Murphy decided it was time to make a better life for herself and for her 12-year-old daughter.
Since joining AmeriCorps last year, she has been focusing full-time on her studies in accounting at Ivy Tech. She plans to transfer by the fall with an associate's degree to Ball State University and begin work toward a bachelor's degree.
It's all happening because of services she and her daughter, Krystal, are receiving from United Way programs. Second Harvest, Motivate Our Minds, and Boys & Girls Club of Muncie are all agencies that make life manageable for Kimberly and Krystal.
"I have to do this if I'm ever going to make a wage I need, something more than $8 an hour," Kimberly says. "But I couldn't do it if weren't for United Way."
It's not easy. Kimberly, who does taxes on the side, made $15,000 last year. Any way you look at it, there's little room in the budget for emergencies but she learned financial literacy through Second Harvest and is a 2015 Circle Leader graduate now helping others. The 16-week course taught her steps to get out of poverty and provides mentoring throughout the year to keep her on track.
"We meet once a month, every month and set a goal," she said. "They hold me accountable. They are my support system."
Each morning during the school year, Krystal catches the city bus at 6:45 a.m. and most nights is home by 6:45 p.m., depending upon music lessons. She's in her second year of violin at MOMS. She gets homework help and plays basketball at the Boys & Girls Club of Muncie on other nights.
Kimberly explains she "had babies early" and she's "catching up now. I raised two older kids myself." She says her financial stresses are "situational," and she's working with United Way funded partners every month to set goals and overcome them.
United Way: Identify the obstacles. Take on the impossible. Conquer situational poverty.