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January 28, 2016
“I think that 2-1-1 is a really important part of getting out of poverty.”
My name is Meadow. I’m a single parent living with a disability in Fort Collins. I was born and raised here. My son and I are low income, as is all of my extended family. Poverty is at the forefront of my life. I come from generational poverty, and breaking the cycle of poverty for my family is something that is really important to me.
There are a lot of social stigmas about people in poverty. There is no one person that is inherently better than another person on the face of the earth. I believe in the ability for all people to have opportunity, to have health, to have time with their family, and to be a part of the community.
Recently, I have made real progress in creating a better life for my family, and I wouldn’t have been able to do that without the help of United Way’s 2-1-1. I first heard about 2-1-1 from the social services office. Since then I have frequently used the service to find resources for myself and for my friends and family.
I think that 2-1-1 is a really important part of getting out of poverty because it saves time in finding the resources you need. You’ll find that people in poverty don’t have a lot of extra time. They work extra jobs, and they spend a lot of time looking for resources and with case workers. They don’t have a lot of time to do what they need to do to get ahead.
There have been a lot of difficult things that have come up over the last several years, like my mom dying of cancer, needing to take care of my 84 year old grandmother, and providing for my son. People often ask me what I did to get through these circumstances. I felt so busy, and I just kept lists of things that needed to be done. I was calling 2-1-1 every day. When I started out, I didn’t have housing. I worked through my list and I got housing; I lowered my bills; I worked on my finances.
Finally, I got to a place where I was able to return to school, and now I am studying social work and Spanish, so I can help people break the cycle of poverty like I am. And, my son is thriving and leading a normal life. Honestly, I still receive assistance, but I do aspire that one day I won’t have to. We’ve come really far, and 2-1-1 was there with me every step of the way. If I didn’t have 2-1-1, I’d still be trying to figure it out on my own. Now I’m using it to help other people in similar situations.
I think our community is unique for having 2-1-1. We’re unique because we’re welcoming, and we’re accessible to those in need. I am truly thankful for it.
To those who give to support the program - I’m glad that you can help people in desperation. You truly have - in my life and in the lives of people around me. What an opportunity to be able to give to someone in need, to help someone whose mother is dying, or someone who has a grandmother with dementia that doesn’t have the funds to give her a place to live. Thank you!
Copyright 2015 United Way of Larimer County