Finding Your Own Path out of Poverty

in Participants

At EFAA, the heart of our mission is to help families in need find their path toward self-sufficiency and financial stability. For each family, that path looks different⁠— what it takes to lift your family from poverty into a new, sustainable life is as unique as each individual family.

For Mai, building a brighter future for her family meant building the confidence to take the first step. When she first found herself needing to support her son Evan as a single mother, she was able to stitch together temporary living arrangements with her family. She worked nights, picking up as many shifts as she could to make ends meet, leaving her with barely any time to sleep between work and taking care of Evan. Eventually, she ran out of places to stay and ended up living in a motel. When Evan’s school heard about their situation, they immediately connected them to help, including EFAA. “Even after living here for years, I didn’t realize there were so many resources available,” said Mai.

Once in EFAA’s Housing Program, Mai not only gained stable housing, but was also able to begin working on her long-term goals through consistent meetings with her case managers. The transition was tough on Evan though, and he began falling behind in school and acting out. Together with her case managers Sandy and Christina, Mai was able to get Evan enrolled in a summer school program just blocks from their new home and developed routines at home to give him the structure he needed to flourish. “Mai has truly blossomed during her time at EFAA,” said Christina. “She has accomplished so much for herself and her family.”

Today, Mai has a lot to be proud of. She is a graduate of the Getting Ahead program and is currently enrolled in Boulder County Circles, a program focused on ending poverty by engaging participants in addressing the personal and institutional barriers to leaving poverty and utilizing volunteer Allies to provide mental and emotional support along the way. She worked hard with a financial counselor to develop and stick to a budget that would move her family forward while still allowing Evan to have fun, such as going to the movies on discount days. Through EFAA’s Summer Camp Scholarship Program, Evan got to enjoy his summer at different camps throughout the area.

“Growing up in poverty, I never thought I would find myself in this situation… I know what it’s like to go without, which is why I want to give Evan everything I can,” said Mai.

Today, Mai and Evan have moved out of EFAA’s housing program into a long-term affordable home, but their journey isn’t over yet. “I’m hoping I can go back to school. I’m planning to start with community college this fall, and then moving onto a state school later… I want to be a role model for Evan, so that he will want to go to college one day.”