CommunityWorks Helps Build Personal Success

After 20 years of marriage, Audrey Scott suddenly found herself homeless, jobless and in the middle of a difficult divorce with no way to provide for herself or her five children. Determined to put her life back together, Audrey sought the help of several Greenville organizations to secure housing for her family, acquire income supplements and complete job training.

Audrey found housing and a stable job, but after six years as a single parent she was struggling to maintain a balance between work and taking care of her children. One of Audrey’s biggest obstacles was lack of reliable transportation. She struggled to get to and from work and run the errands necessary to take care of her family and home.

Audrey turned to CommunityWorks Carolina (CWC), an organization that offers affordable housing, personal financial stability and community economic development programs to empower low-wealth families and communities in the Upstate. Audrey enrolled in CWC’s Keys to Success Individual Development Account (IDA) Program, a matched savings program that helps individuals purchase reliable transportation to increase access to education and employment opportunities. Participants must create a savings plan, save a minimum amount monthly, and complete financial education and car ownership training.

With the help of CWC, Audrey was able to reach her savings goal within six months and purchase a car. Having a dependable source of transportation has helped Audrey to maintain her jobs and better meet her family’s needs.

“Nowadays, it seems to take two incomes to even meet your bills,” Audrey said. “CommunityWorks makes it possible for someone who doesn’t have a lot of money and otherwise wouldn’t be able to do it to reach their goals. Their programs are especially great for single parents who work hard but still struggle financially.”

Although Audrey was able to reach her goal, her experience wasn’t easy. As she learned more about saving and budgeting, Audrey realized she wasn’t making enough money to meet her financial plan. In addition to working at a hotel in downtown Greenville, she took on a second job as a Certified Nursing Assistant at a local nursing home. While it was challenging to maintain two jobs and a family, Audrey says the budgeting tactics she learned in her training with CWC also helped her develop time management skills she uses to manage her various responsibilities.

Audrey is grateful not only for her car, but also for the knowledge and experience she gained through CWC. “They’re helpful to anyone who wants to better themselves,” she said. “Having someone behind you so you don’t have to do it alone makes it easier to work toward buying a car or house, or even getting an education.”

Audrey has rebuilt her life in recent years and she doesn’t intend on stopping now. She plans to continue learning how to budget and work on building and maintaining her credit. She hopes to purchase a house in the near future and looks forward to possibly participating in other CWC programs to help her work toward this goal.

“It’s been a strenuous journey, but the road is getting easier,” Audrey said. “Being able to walk out the door and get into my car and go where I need to go is a great feeling.”

For more information on CommunityWorks, visit www.communityworkscarolina.org.

Debbie Nelson

Debbie Nelson is the president and founder of DNA Creative Communications, a woman-owned public relations and inspirational marketing firm for nonprofit organizations. Under Debbie’s leadership, in 2010 DNA founded Shine the Light Nonprofit Forums, an annual training program for Greenville nonprofits in partnership with the Community Foundation of Greenville County, the United Way of Greenville County and the Hollingsworth Funds. To support other nonprofits across the state, she also manages education programs for the South Carolina Association of Nonprofit Organization. As an a advocate for the nonprofit community, each month Debbie shares nonprofit stories in her Shine the Light columns in the Greenville Business Magazine and the Columbia Business Monthly. In addition she teaches nonprofit marketing at Clemson University to inspire and develop future nonprofit leaders. Debbie is a graduate of Leadership Greenville, Leadership South Carolina and the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leadership Initiative. She currently serves on the boards of the Greenville Area Development Corporation, the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, the United Way of Greenville County and the United Way Association of South Carolina.

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