Amanda was an 18-year-old stay-at-home mom to three young boys when she first turned to the Northwestern Ohio Community Action Commission (NOCAC) for help with her utilities in 2008. At the time, she didn’t know her financial situation or even who her utility companies were because her “husband handled that stuff.” Now she is a single, self-sufficient mom with a degree in criminal justice and a good job with a local police department thanks to the help of NOCAC.

During Amanda’s first visit to NOCAC in 2008, her caseworker, Sarah, encouraged her to pay more attention to her finances in case of any problems in the future. In 2009, Amanda contacted Sarah to let her know that she took her advice to heart and even went back to school to increase her independence. Then in 2012, Amanda contacted Sarah again and told her that while going over their monthly finances, she had discovered her husband was cheating on her. She thanked Sarah for her advice a few years back, which helped her make the discovery. Sarah convinced Amanda to come back to NOCAC to see what kind of assistance she could receive as a newly single mom pursuing her college degree.

“She was neck deep in outstanding bills left from her husband, trying to get to and from Indiana for college, and was also doing her internship with one of the local police departments,” Sarah explained. “This young lady was just finishing her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and was going through the police academy. She received emergency assistance through HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program) and PIPP (Percentage of Income Payment Plan), and local donations, and also housing assistance with CHIP (Community Housing Improvement Program) funds. She agreed to case management, and I have been touching base with her throughout the last year.”

Amanda now has a job with a local police department and is very thankful for the help and encouragement she received from NOCAC and Sarah over the years. And Sarah is very happy and proud of Amanda. Following is a letter from Amanda to NOCAC expressing her gratitude:

My name is Amanda. I first came to Sarah at community action when my divorce started. I was starting a whole new life, that I had no clue about. I had not worked during my marriage, was not allowed to handle any finances and didn’t know the first thing about bills. Sarah helped me with my deposit, first month’s rent, deposit to my utilities and put me on HEAP. Since that very first appointment she has called me on occasions to just check on me and how I am doing, which is nice. I don’t have family that lives around here and as silly as it sounds I’ve called Sarah several times just for that “mommy” talk, on life, bills, etc. Since I have received help, I have set my life as a single mother of 3 as a very strong independent woman. I’ve not once been late on my rent and in fact I’m a month ahead at all times. I’ve not been late on any other bills till the month of February on my electric. In which this is not an excuse, but, I finally reach my goal in life as a career in the police field. I have recently received a part time job at a local police department, and have been working a lot, so I’ve spent a lot of money in gas going back and forth and paying extra in a babysitter, and I haven’t received my first check yet. So once again Sarah was here to help me with my electric bill. I really am appreciative to this facility and Sarah herself, I don’t feel I would be where I am today without the help I’ve received. Thanks! XOXO

Amanda & my 3 little pumpkins

For more information about Community Action programs in your area, visit www.oacaa.org. Note, not all Community Action Agencies offer these programs.

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