“People are really here to help you,” says Shaniora, an aspiring baker who found herself needing help when chronic illness and surgery derailed her plans to support herself while finishing her degree.
Having already completed two years of study while in high school, Shaniora came to Charlotte on her own to finish her degree at Johnson & Wales University. She pushed through symptoms from sickle cell anemia, worked part-time, and focused on her future in an industry she loved.
But, as she was nearing the finish line, sickness tried to take over. Looking back, she remembers realizing she really couldn’t keep “doing it all.” Doctors told her she would need surgery, and that meant time off from the classroom and the workplace.
“I’m not the kind of person to tell myself ‘I can’t’,” Shaniora says. “But I don’t always like to ask for help, either.” Still, without paid time off or other benefits, her medical situation forced her to seek out resources. She’s glad she did.
“It’s nice to know help is close by,” she says of getting connected to Crisis Assistance Ministry. She worked directly with an economic mobility specialist to address her financial needs during her medical recovery.
Together, they set goals and created plans for achieving them:
- make it through her upcoming surgery and recovery by planning, saving, and budgeting;
- improve income by finishing school, upgrading job search skills, and seeking a new job;
- improve professional brand to increase future earnings potential; and
- rebuild her personal safety net with a post-recovery savings plan.
With careful planning and a little bit of emergency financial assistance, Shaniora kept her bills paid, completed her degree, and updated her résumé by the time she recovered from her medical procedure.
Thanks to her hard work and a little “hand up” from people like you, she came through it all with a “fresh start.” She landed a new job with paid time off, medical benefits, and opportunities for advancement. She began building her brand and her future once more.
She learned a few lessons along the way, too.
“I wish a lot of people weren’t so ashamed to ask for help,” she says. “I’m thankful for it . . . just from being able to talk to somebody . . . just from being heard.”
Thanks to the support of the community, Crisis Assistance Ministry is thankful to be here for neighbors like Shaniora.