Parents usually discover LIFT a few different ways – through our partnerships with community colleges, through parent-to-parent referrals, or in the case of Jimmy, our partnerships with early childcare centers.
After picking up his toddler from daycare, Jimmy saw that one of our LIFT booths was giving lollipops and went to grab one for his son. At the booth, one of our volunteers handed him a pamphlet and explained LIFT’s one-on-one coaching program for families.
“My initial thought was ‘this is too good to be true’ so I immediately waived it off and said thanks,” says Jimmy of his first encounter with LIFT. “But after taking the pamphlet and reading it when I got home, I decided to give LIFT a shot. I gave [LIFT-Los Angeles] a call and they invited me to their location. I got to meet some of the staff, and I remember seeing all the resources that you guys offer. Everyone was extremely helpful and really understanding of my situation as a parent.”
Now, two years into his program at LIFT, we caught up with Jimmy to learn about his experience and all that he’s achieved.
What was your financial situation like before joining LIFT’s program, and what was it like to work with a coach on your goals?
I wasn’t too involved with my finances. I would say they were all over the place. But with Carrie, my first-ever coach at LIFT, we made goals that made me feel accountable.
Carrie was just great. She helped me set goals that made me feel that I was listened to. It felt great knowing that there was somebody willing to tell me every month, “hey, these goals that we set, did you accomplish them? Are they in progress?” Or “how are you working to achieve them?” I think that’s something that stands out from all other organizations – LIFT makes you feel accountable for the goals that you set. It’s not just writing it down on a piece of paper and forgetting about it
The best thing about it is that your coach meets with you every month and they’ll ask you about your progress, and you feel great when you tell them “I accomplished this goal!” They understand that we’re parents; we’re students; we’re workers. They understand the situation, and they want to see you succeed, and that makes you want to succeed.
What goals have you accomplished with LIFT, big or small?
I’ve improved my credit score by 20 points over the past two years since I joined LIFT. I opened my first CD account, and I haven’t taken anything out from it – it’s just going to keep on maturing. I’ve decided to pursue my education even further, earning an AA in accounting and an AA in business. I have multiple jobs lined up that I’m very enthusiastic about. And I’m hoping by this year, or possibly next year, to purchase my first home. Me and my wife are pretty excited, and I know the kids are going to love it.
What dreams do you have for your children?
For them to pursue whatever they want to do. I nurture anything they find an interest in. My son Aiden loves computers. We think he’s going to be an engineer in the future. He loves coding, and we got him a program where he can do STEM programs online. My son Dan loves dancing and he loves playing music, so he has a piano at home and he’s practicing right now. And my oldest daughter? She’s currently into drawing right now so we got her a sketchbook.
2020 was a year of big changes for all of us. How has your life changed?
My life has changed on all levels, from parenthood to college student. One of the biggest changes in my life right now is that I’m about to graduate from Los Angeles Trade Tech in July. It’s been a tough two years, but the last year, I would say, was the toughest.
Managing my time and being in class; doing the homework and having your five-year-old next to you the entire way because of the lockdowns has been challenging to say the least. But it’s all worth it. I feel very accomplished. Under all this stress we were under, I still managed to get on the dean’s list at my school. My grades have been improving since I’ve come back to college and I’m hoping to transfer in the fall of this year. I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to go back to school.
What keeps you motivated?
My family. My wife deserves a lot. She motivates me with the work that she does. She works at the Salvation Army where she helps seniors, people experiencing homelessness, and people in our community that don’t have anywhere to go. She’s an idol to me. She does a lot of the hard work that a lot of people don’t see. She’s a social services coordinator for the LA central area. She teaches me to better myself and to push our family forward into the future.
What message do you have for parents interested in joining LIFT’s program that aren’t sure yet?
It’s completely worth it. LIFT will help you. They genuinely care for you and your family. They will help you achieve any goals and keep you accountable. LIFT is not just an organization like any other government agency out there. They want to see you succeed.