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Cari, 20 years old, joined us in January after she lost her job and the apartment her cousin was sharing with her. Since the rest of her family lives down south, she didn’t have a backup plan. She couch surfed for a little while, and then decided to check in at COTS (Coalition On Temporary Shelter). COTS was out of beds at the time and sent her to us. Once she got here, Cari didn’t waste any time, but began job hunting. Within a month she had a job at Target and eventually added a second one at Walmart. Now several months later, she’s been offered full-time hours at Target, complete with benefits.

Even though she had a job early on, (a sign of maturity and readiness to move forward into our ROP program) Cari didn’t want to move up. The idea felt too permanent to her and she wanted to be back on her own. After a bit she realized she wasn’t really financially stable enough to make the leap back to an apartment and saw the wisdom of taking some time to save up before she leaves, so she finally agreed to move to ROP.

In the winter, Cari will begin attending Oakland Community College to study political science and criminal justice. Eventually she’d like to attend University of Michigan and wants to complete a master’s degree. Given her ambition and her proven ability to work hard, we have no doubt she will be very successful when she leaves us.

Cari appreciates the program here and is really excited about the financial planning sessions she has been attending. “They tell you about savings, but also about investing. We learned about hidden bank fees and other important stuff.” The support she’s found here is another key part of her appreciation. “Ms. Burton and the other staff really push you. They don’t want you to get too comfortable. They give you good advice to help you keep moving forward. When I was out on my own, I didn’t have any support; here there are a lot of helpful people.”