After raising two children already 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.
She joined AmeriCorps last year and has used the past year to focus 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, 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."
During the school year, 13-year-old Krystal catches the city bus at 6:45 a.m. each morning 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 funding partners every month to set goals. "They hold me accountable," Kimberly said. "They are my support system."
United Way: Identify the obstacles. Take on the impossible. Conquer situational poverty.