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Developing a toolkit to survive — and thrive

Updated: May 3

With a household budget and other daily-routine strategies in place, “Stephanie” felt more in control of her money and had the tools she needed to provide for her family moving forward.

mom helping child with homework
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Single mom “Stephanie” applied to FamilyForward when her life was unraveling. Her mother’s health was deteriorating, and she required more care, which also meant Stephanie could no longer depend on her mom to babysit the two children. The children’s father was increasingly unreliable and only sporadically paid child support. Stephanie felt logistically, financially and emotionally alone, and growing accustomed to the new reality of these two relationships felt overwhelming.

Like many FamilyForward participants who enter our program in survival mode, Stephanie found herself paying bills left and right, without any real strategy. Rather than feeling in control of her finances, she felt like her circumstances were controlling her.


Mentors bring consistency and coaching

Weekly visits from her FamilyForward volunteer mentors brought consistency into Stephanie’s life. With the FamilyForward rent subsidy, Stephanie gained peace of mind and reassurance that she and her children could remain housed while she straightened out her finances. Stephanie’s mentors asked her to track her spending and, over time, helped her figure out how much her life costs. She developed, and followed, a schedule for paying her fixed expenses, which helped her to understand how much she could afford to spend on her variable expenses. With a household budget in place, Stephanie felt more in control of her money.

Stephanie’s mentors also: 
  • Examined all the deductions from Stephanie’s paychecks and discussed realistic changes to increase her take-home pay.

  • Challenged Stephanie to stop using her credit card for incidentals and to start chipping away at some of that debt.

  • Brainstormed with Stephanie to find specific ways to turn her occasional side-hustle job into a steady source of income.

  • Collaborated with Stephanie to improve her family’s evening routine (dinner preparation / homework / bedtime process) to make this time less stressful and more enjoyable.


Progress boosts motivation

Stephanie felt motivated by the progress she made in each of these areas. Knowing that she could afford her life and had a little bit of money in the bank made it easier for Stephanie to care for her mother and navigate childcare scheduling issues. And most important, Stephanie was able to be more emotionally present for her children, thanks to better organization and an improved daily routine. Stephanie not only had the toolkit she needed to survive, she had solid strategies to thrive and to provide for her family moving forward.


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