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Birthing bigger dreams

Amber and Anna at SC Grad

Giving birth isn’t easy. Whether it’s giving birth to a child or a dream, unexpected struggles can hit anytime.

Amber found this to be especially true when she developed diabetes type 1 shortly after she had her first child. “When you’re pregnant, you don’t envision having to now also pay for insulin, medical supplies, and additional health services for yourself,” she explains.

Familiar with living on a low income for most of her life, Amber had never really had savings or been taught how to plan when it came to finances. She had always been under the assumption that large goals and high-priced dreams were only for those who could already afford them.

“You get wedged into your own (low income) place in society and you don’t see how you can get out of that,” she says in a soft voice over the phone, being careful not to wake the sleeping baby. “You see others taking vacations, buying things they want, saving for the future – and you assume you will never have that.”

Raising a child on her own, incapable of affording basic medical supplies, and slowly spiralling downward financially, Amber reached out for support. Finding the help she needed through a social services support worker named Linda, Amber was told about Momentum’s matched savings programs. “I now had all these resources at my fingertips!” she says.

Matched savings programs offer participants an opportunity to learn more about banking, credit, assets, and other ways to improve their economic situation and understanding of this. While learning, there are opportunities to earn two to three times any money put aside in a savings account.

Amber was accepted into the Savings Circles program after attending an information session on this and the numerous other matched savings programs offered by Momentum, including the Family Saves program designed specifically to help parents. She was originally seeking coverage for her uninsured medical costs but was eventually able to purchase what she needed without touching her savings. Simply by continuing to put $50 aside each month, she now has over $1,600 saved.

Amber also has even bigger plans for how to use her rapidly increasing savings.

Savings Circles participants enjoy homemade hummous
Savings Circles participants enjoy tasty, homemade hummous!

“More than anything, through Momentum, I learned to think big. I learned that it’s possible to go after goals with the income that I’m at now that I wouldn’t have thought was possible before,” she says, becoming more animated by the minute. “The program talked a lot about Assets,” she continues. “Assets are not just financial things – they can be the education you have, the connections you make, or even your great personality!”

Amber is thrilled to be recently accepted into Mount Royal University’s Nursing program and is excited to start her courses in the fall. “Big goals are now accessible,” she explains. “It just means I have to put more aside to achieve them.” She now plans to purchase an Apple laptop computer to support her studies. She says that without Savings Circles, and the extra savings earned from this program, it wouldn’t have been possible to get this much-needed asset for continuing education.

We at Momentum wish Amber all the best on her higher education journey and in continuing to build even bigger dreams for herself and her new family!

If you’d like to know more about our matched savings programs like the one that helped Amber, please contact annaj@momentum.org, call Anna at 403-204-2692, or check out the related webpage for more details.