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Madeline’s Story: Learning to Manage Finances Provides Greater Stability

Madeline’s Story: Learning To Manage Finances Provides Greater Stability

As a single mom, with a very low-income, Madeline faced many challenges that stood in the way of self-sufficiency. She has often found herself overwhelmed and anxious, which added to her inability to manage finances and find greater stability. Recently Madeline took a proactive approach that included several key steps forward to take control of her life.

To get on the road to gaining financial independence, Madeline turned to SparkPoint OC, United Way’s one-stop financial empowerment center that’s helping low-income residents gain free access to personal financial coaching and resources. After talking with her SparkPoint case manager, Marcela, they agreed she needed to come up with a plan to tackle the various issues that were affecting her health, finances and stress levels. Fortunately, Marcela was able to direct Madeline to the best available resources, because she was quite overwhelmed when she first contacted SparkPoint OC.

Her first priority was to address her legal issues with a family matter, so Marcela referred her to a partner agency, the Public Law Center. Marcela knew that addressing this component first would be key to reducing Madeline’s stress and allow her to focus on changing her financial patterns. Once they created a step-by-step plan to manage her personal finances, Madeline would be able to gain control and begin to make plans for a better future. According to Madeline, “I wasn’t aware that finances were affecting my outlook, my confidence and my ability to make decisions that empower me. I’m thankful that Marcela has the ability to pinpoint and troubleshoot very well.”

Last November, Madeline was able to graduate from a mental health services program where she moved out of homelessness towards self-sufficiency. Since starting the SparkPoint OC program, she has improved budget planning, is paying off debts, building savings for a car and other priorities and her credit score went from 563 to 748 in just eight months. According to, Marcela, “This program has given Madeline a great deal of confidence to take on difficult tasks and build on new skills. She is not looking for work yet but she feels like she may be ready soon.”

“At first, I was nervous and reluctant, but now I look forward to my appointments and I can smile at the future. I didn’t know my life would take such a dramatic upturn,” said Madeline. “God has blessed me with a strong supportive resource through SparkPoint OC–they exceeded my expectations and I am thankful for the program, the people who helped me and the caring community.”

By casting a wide net, Madeline is getting the social, emotional and technical support she needs. It is gratifying to hear about her progress and we wish her the very best. Thanks to the support of our donors who believe in our work, more individuals like Madeline have the opportunity to succeed.


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