Meet Maria from LIFT-Chicago

What does “love” look like at LIFT? For LIFT-Chicago Mom Maria, love is more than just a feeling. It’s the courage she found to take a chance and change her family’s future for the better.

As a mother of six children, ranging from ages 21 all the way down to 2, Maria knows a thing or two about giving love. Her kids are tender, joyful, sassy, and smart. Her daughter Ashley, 14, is nervous about starting high school. And Rey, 2, loves to tell his mom how much he loves her.

But when you spend so much time giving love, how do you make room for yourself to receive it? That’s why Maria loves LIFT. Through our one-on-one coaching program, Maria has built relationships with coaches that advise and support her in achieving her goals and provide her with a safe space to receive the same encouragement and care we all need to succeed.

During her first meeting at LIFT, Maria was surprised by the warmth she was greeted with after a few painful encounters with public aid services. “You’re in the right place,” her coach reassured her, as she began charting out what she wanted to accomplish with LIFT and how she was going to provide the best future for her family. And accomplish she did.

Since joining our program, Maria has paid off $56,000 in credit card debt and loans. But beyond the transformative progress she’s made on her finances, Maria has learned to change the way she thinks about money through better budgeting and smarter decision making. “LIFT helped ’lift’ me out of my situation and keep me grounded with the tools and resources I needed to take action.”

Finding a support network at LIFT made a big difference in Maria’s well-being, so when the pandemic struck and our physical offices closed, she admits that she struggled adjusting to the change. But despite the challenges of working from home, supporting her children through e-learning, and being isolated from her family, Maria persevered.

“It all depends on what we have around us. That is what sustains us through the process of change or leaves us behind.”

Now more than a year into the pandemic, Maria has used this moment of change to grow as a mom. Our group workshops – one of Maria’s favorite aspects of our program – have honed her financial skills. Through LIFT’s virtual coaching, Maria receives that personalized support and remains committed to completing her goals.

She has big dreams of paying off her car loan, becoming a homeowner, and staying out of debt. She wants to provide her children with a wealth legacy, peace, and the encouragement they need to achieve their own dreams by role modeling. Love is what Maria experienced when she joined LIFT. It’s what she feels every day at home with her family. It’s what is going to turn those dreams into a reality.