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May 31, 2016
Andy is a veteran and the father of three teenage boys.
When he became a single father, he began working multiple jobs to make ends meet for his family.
“I thought, I am working really hard but I’m getting nowhere, so I decided there was something that needed to be done,” Andy said. “I wanted to spend more time with my family. I wanted to be able to provide for them better than I was at the time, to be a better father and be a better provider financially.”
Andy enrolled in college to become an electrical engineer and became the first in his family to attend college. He began attending Front Range Community College and then was accepted into Colorado State University.
He credits Project Self-Sufficiency and the Larimer County Workforce Center, two partners in United Way’s Working Families Thrive collaborative group, for helping him overcome barriers and continue on the path to meet his goals.
“Along the way, as you try to navigate some of these big systems like college systems and public assistance systems, it can get overwhelming pretty quickly, even if you have a great skill set like Andy does,” said Stephanie Slayton, Program Manager at Project Self-Sufficiency.
Multiple agencies came together to “wrap-around” Andy and his family to help them navigate community resources. Now, he’s connected to veteran’s services and internship opportunities, and he’s received help with transportation for his family. In addition, he’s had support in developing opportunities for his older children to pursue a higher education.
Andy grew up in poverty, and he knows the odds were against him to break the cycle for his kids.
“If I can stop them from living and thinking that living in poverty and being destitute is OK or a normal lifestyle, that means that my grandchildren, great-grandchildren, my children’s great-grandchildren and on down, maybe that will never happen for any of them. Because I put a stop to it right now,” Andy said.
Your support of United Way and its partners helps more local families, like Andy’s, get the support they need to break the cycle of poverty and build a brighter future.
UPDATE: Andy recently spoke at our annual State of the Community event. His speech is below. Read more about the SoC event here.
Copyright 2015 United Way of Larimer County