United Way’s $en$e-ability project
Success story from our $mart Money classes


Rita Massey is a single mother of three children, one of age 6, and two twins of age 9. Rita’s family was living in an apartment but due to the passing of her husband, she and her children had to move into our Emergency Shelter. During her stay at the shelter, Rita needed many services. One opportunity caught her eye and she voluntarily enrolled in our $mart Money classes. She told the class instructors that her husband had handled all their financial decisions and she was determined to learn how to manage her money. Her husband had not only handled all their finances but also was the family breadwinner.

Rita participated in all the $mart Money classes and even took the curriculum back to the shelter in the evenings and to her friends to share. This program is funded by United Way’s $en$e-Ability project. She was very excited to learn how her credit report looked and what she needed to do to fix some of the past problems. She continued to access local safety net services for herself and her children including apartment hunting which she had never attempted before. Rita stated the tenants’ rights portion of the classes helped her to understand what she could afford and how to explain her poor credit to perspective landlords. After securing a part time job, Rita used her $mart Money knowledge to manage a very small but growing budget for herself and her children. She stated she was not used to living on so little but was confident she could face the challenges in this new financial bracket.

Rita and her children became members of Church of the Nazarene and have made many other positive connections through our agency and other community support agencies. She now has secured housing the family can afford in the County and the children are enrolled in counseling. Rita has also offered her babysitting skills to our new Housing Programs Assistant so that other families can take advantage of the $mart Money Classes when the Fall schedule begins.