CINCINNATI (August 31, 2022) — Frederick Douglass’s words are tattooed on Lisa Freeman’s left arm: Without struggle there is no progress.
Lisa’s struggles have included a toxic, failed relationship; defaults on loans from when she briefly attended college; substance abuse; post-traumatic stress disorder; and bipolar disorder. Two of her four children – all are age 5 or younger – have autism.
Her kids were her motivation to enter substance abuse recovery and get clean. She has maintained stable housing the past seven years. And with United Way and one of its partner agencies supporting her, she is making steady progress on other fronts.
With help from agency staff, she planned a course of action toward financial well-being. She worked with a financial coach who taught her about a repayment program for defaulted loans. With time, the repayment program will allow her to fulfill her dream of returning to college and earning a bachelor’s degree in business. She is currently enrolled in a job-training program that is preparing her to work in her chosen field: human resources and payroll services.
With the support from United Way and its partner agency, Lisa has received help with housing, car repairs, and purchases of necessities such as diapers and household goods. What’s more, Lisa learned how to navigate and tap into other available resources.
The family’s weekly schedule includes therapy sessions for the children who have autism, as well as for Lisa, who says the sessions help her stay grounded.
“I’m in a lot better place, not just financially, but mentally,” she says. “I can’t think of anything that hasn’t improved – my relationships have improved, my general health, my mental health, my relationship with my kids.”
Not so long ago, Lisa simply wanted to exist and survive. Now, she says, her perception of what is possible for her family is far different. They are on a path to thrive.
United Way funding helps craft training programs that teach new skills to put families on the path to financial independence and create stability in their lives.
United Way of Greater Cincinnati is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization [Tax ID: 31-0537502]. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.