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Meet Marissa After growing up in an unstable home, Marissa knew the most important thing she could give her kids was stability. She dreamed of having a house of her own, a place her kids could come home to each day. United Way THRIVE helped Marissa build that stable foundation for her family. Through United Way THRIVE, Marissa learned many of the financial skills she never had. She took a hard look at where her money was going and built a budget that would help her get to her goal of homeownership. She took financial education classes and worked one‐on‐ one with a financial coach to develop a savings plan and a plan for the future. “All you have to do is take that first step,” Marissa says. “If you really want to take that journey, they’re there to guide you along the way. They want to help you if you want to help yourself.” There was no doubt Marissa wanted to take that journey. Once she started to build her savings, Marissa enrolled in homeownership classes. There, she learned everything from the basics of home buying to the nitty gritty of financing a home. And it paid off –Marissa purchased a home for herself and her two children. Now, Marissa and her kids not only have a roof over their heads, but also an asset they can build on and a new outlook on the future. Marissa has a good job and is finishing her college degree – but she doesn’t plan to stop there. Marissa already has plans to pursue an MBA and eventually, get an even better job. “Don’t be afraid to dream. Don’t be afraid to try,” she says. “I reached my goal of having my own place to call home and never having to wonder where we are going to sleep at night.”