Patricia moved out to get married and start her family when she was just 18, and she wasn’t equipped with the knowledge to be able to properly take care of her finances. Patricia soon found herself living in poverty with her two young daughters. Patricia came to Consumer Credit Counseling Services in May of 2008. She had accumulated more credit card debt than she could handle and needed help learning how to take control of her finances. Patricia met with counselors who enrolled her in financial literacy classes and connected her with the Housing Authority so she and her family would have a place to live. After showing drive and motivation, the credit counselors thought she would be a good match for the newly implemented Circles program. She began the program and dedicated herself to improving her financial stability. Patricia was part of the first graduating class September 2013 in Salina, completing the first phase of the program. Patricia now works with a community ally, and will do so for the next year, as the second phase of the program. Patricia sees herself as a success story because she has been on course to budgeting for five years; she paid off all her credit card debt this past summer, and she has learned to live within her means. She describes herself as goal oriented and motivated, citing her only current debt as unpaid student loans. Patricia has been able to become financially stable, and now has a personalized support system in place to help her remain on track for years to come. She hopes to enlighten people and open their eyes to the situation of poverty in the Salina area.
By December 31, 2015, Circles will have helped 8% (of the 773 households referred to above) of Saline county households in poverty complete the Getting Ahead course and establish goals, increase savings/income, and manage expenses.