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Success Stories!

We love a success story!

Many graduates have taken advantage of the Financial Incentives we offer to increase their savings, increase their education, increase their earning potential, and purchase homes.  Many have also benefited from our Coaching and Credit services.  Here are a few of their stories...

Brian Smith

From graduate to business owner!

Brian Smith lives in Mulberry and graduated from our Financial Stability classes at the Mulberry Community Service Center.  He completed his $300 savings and received the $150 savings incentive.  Brian then applied and was nominated for the Savings for Asset program with the goal of starting a business.  His business goal was to own and operate a food trailer.

Brian pursued his goal with unbridled determination.  He quickly completed a business plan for his business, Mr. B's King of Wings.  Within six months he saved $2,000 and then went on to attend the requisite business class from SCORE and the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce.  Using what he learned in the classes, Brian immediately revised and powered up his business plan.  He also shopped and found the perfect trailer to run Mr. B's King of Wings.

Brian not only went on to purchase his trailer, but he also received matching funds for $2,000 from the Mulberry Community Service Center.  Once he totally converted and outfitted his trailer, Mr. B's King of Wings celebrated its Grand Opening, and the Mulberry staff was excited to be some of his first customers and enjoy some great food!

Way to go, Brian!!

Abigail Callejas-Mejias

Becoming a savings superstar

Abigail Callejas-Mejias participated in Teen Trendsetters, an afterschool program at Mulberry High School, where the Mulberry Community Service Center provided MoneySmart classes. 

She saved $300 in a savings account and received our $150 financial incentive.  Abigail's savings goal was college education. She graduated from Mulberry High School and enrolled at Southeastern University (SEU) with the goal of being accepted to their Nursing Program.  In her first year, she impressively completed two years' worth of pre-requisite classes. Even while doubling up on her course work and working at Home Depot, she still managed to make the Dean's List!

While studying and working, Abigail was also saving.  She reached and surpassed the $2,000 savings goal to receive the Savings for Asset matching funds.  As a result of her hard work, she was accepted to the SEU Nursing Program and the Mulberry Community Service Center was honored to present her with a check to SEU for the $2,000 matching funds.  Her goal is to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (BSN).

Abigail says her parents are her inspiration, but she is as much an inspiration to others!  When asked what advice she would give, she answered without hesitation, "Never take 'no' for an answer."

Emilio Gonzalez

Earning a license to style and profile

Emilio was a student at a local barber academy and working part-time during the day when he decided to attend one our financial classes.

Our classes showed him that he could move spare money from his checking account into a savings account, which took Emilio to his first success of saving $300 and receiving the $150 savings incentive from us.

He then learned about our $2,000 Savings for Assets program, which motivated him to save for his tuition. Through hard work, focus, and determination, Emilio saved $1,862 toward his barber academy tuition, and the United Way matched every dollar!  Shortly after, Emilio passed the state exam to become a Licensed Restricted Barber and is now employed at an upscale barber shop in Lakeland.

Like many of our other students, Emilio was inspired by our program, and says he shares everything he's learned with his family and friends.

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