Jasmine was a young welfare mother of two children living in public housing. She attended a Head Start luncheon with a family member just a few weeks after graduating with an Associate’s Degree in Behavioral Health and Human Services at Community College. She was inspired by the Head Start program for encouraging the parents to strive for something “beyond being a welfare recipient.” Jasmine applied and was hired on the spot as a Family Service Advocate.
In 2007, the agency launched an asset initiative called Add It Up for Families. Jasmine worked with families to achieve their financial goals through various strategies including financial education, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), banking activities, and matched savings accounts, also known as Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). She herself received financial education, became a VITA volunteer, and she saved in two IDAs for first time home purchase and higher education. In 2009, with the financial support of the IDA program, she graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and purchased her first home. She credits the asset initiative with helping her get her kids out of the projects and for the opportunity of attending a four-year college.
Today Jasmine’s family is strong, and she continues to climb the economic ladder. Jasmine is married and working as a therapist at a drug and alcohol facility. She will be graduating in May 2012 with a Master’s Degree in School Counseling and is in the process of applying to Wilmington University’s Doctoral program in Educational Leadership, with an anticipated start date of September 2012.