Rhonda (not her real name) was at the end of her rope. She was living with an abusive boyfriend, she was not able to hold down a job, and she had started experimenting with illegal drugs. When she finally realized how bad her life had become, she came to one of our United Way partner agencies for help with food, clothes, and utility assistance. She knew her life was in ruins, but she wanted to make a change for the better.
“After we qualified Rhonda for our program, I gave her a list of things that she needed to accomplish so she could come back to our office for services next month,” the agency counselor said. “The next month she came back and she was still in need of food and money for her family.”
The counselor asked Rhonda what items on the list she had accomplished over the last month.
“Nothing has really changed,” Rhonda said.
Rhonda’s counselor got her to take a good, hard look at her problems, and referred her to a doctor for help with injuries she had received from her abusive boyfriend. The counselor also got Rhonda in touch with other agencies to get job interviews and gave Rhonda new ideas about how she could reconstruct her life and start over again.
The counselor remembers her advice to Rhonda very clearly: “I told her, next month I want you to come back with positive results and tell me what you have done to improve your life.”
The following month, Rhonda did return to the agency, and she had taken the counselor's advice. She was no longer in the abusive relationship. She had secured a respectable job as a secretary, and she was making dinner every night for her children and eating with them. Rhonda was grateful for the help she had received and the change it created in her life.
“You gave me a fish and I ate for the day,” she told her counselor, “but you also taught me how to fish. Now my family eats every night.”
Your support of United Way helped Rhonda become a healthier person and, like many others, overcome tremendous challenges. Today, she is a contributing member of our society and provides love and care for her children.
(Names and images changed to protect privacy. Factual events.)