More than Money: MLK Center Paves the Way for Financially Stable Families

At just 31 years old, Jasmine has conquered more hardship than most people her age – all while being the sole caretaker for her 1-year-old son.


She was let go from a job she loved and found herself with no income and in a lot of debt.


Jasmine knew she had to find a way to not only to support herself, but also to ensure her son was provided with every opportunity possible.


“Finding something that paid enough was difficult,” she said. “Securing a job that allowed me to cover the costs of daycare was a challenge. There’s a big gap with either you have it or you don’t. At the time I was struggling to find anything that paid enough, until I visited the Martin Luther King Community Center.”


The MLK Center’s mission is focused on strengthening the communities and neighborhoods they serve by providing a variety of programming for youth, family and seniors, including education, job training, employment opportunities, financial literacy and income supports.


Because of the center’s participation in the Great Families 2020 Project – United Way’s four-year initiative to improve family stability for vulnerable children and their parents living in five targeted neighborhoods in Indianapolis – Jasmine has found success in all of the above.


Currently, Jasmine meets with her Wellness Coach, Terrance, every week and has been making progress with paying off debt.


“Terrance helped me with my financial planning,” she said. “The report was pulled for me and we went through it together. He pointed out some of the things I could pay off really quickly because they were low balances. There were also things that shouldn’t have been on the report, and he helped me dispute them. My credit score improved, and I was able to get a credit card.”


Jasmine’s credit score has increased and she continues to work through her finances with Terrance.


“Financially I am much, much better off,” she said. “It’s good to know things and see where you’re weak or where you don’t know something – knowledge is key and they (the MLK Center) help you with that.”


Prior to enrolling in Great Families 2020, Jasmine was working as a Pre-K teacher earning only $10.00 per hour with no benefits. After completing a skills assessment during a Great Families 2020 session, Terrance recommended that she look in to working for ABA Therapy.


“After her initial session with me, one of her goals was to find better employment,” Terrance said. “We looked at her prior education, along with the credits she had – and then looked at attainable jobs in education. ABA Therapy just seemed like a perfect fit.”


Jasmine is now employed as an ABA Therapist earning $18.00 per hour, with the potential of a pay increase. She is planning to complete her education degree with the intent of transferring her credits from Wright State University to IUPUI.


As Jasmine continues to excel, she is planning on purchasing her home.


“I really do appreciate the Martin Luther King Community Center Great Families 2020 Project,” Jasmine said. “They’ve helped me grow and get better. They don’t require you to meet certain criteria, they meet you where you are.”