By the time Raegan turned 18, she was solely responsible for her own housing and income. Growing up, her family faced difficult financial barriers, and she didn’t have access to the resources and opportunities many young people do. Her mother lived in a women’s shelter, and her father lived on low-income, unable to provide support. Complications with Raegan’s health made getting by even more difficult, as multiple visits to the doctor and expensive medications placed additional demands on her already stretched finances. “I felt like I was 18 going on 80”, she recalls. “I was taking 21 scheduled pills every day, I was seeing a specialist every couple of weeks, I was in and out of the hospital a lot – my friends did not stick around for that, so on top of being very sick, I was also very lonely.”
Raegan wanted a better life, and was committed to finding one. “I was tired of working entry level jobs with managers that didn’t care about my wellbeing. I was hopeful that getting an education would put me in a better place in life.” Following a credit workshop she attended at the women’s shelter her mother was staying at, Raegan connected with Rae-Lynn, a Momentum facilitator, and learned of Momentum’s Financial Empowerment classes. Completely free of cost, and designed specifically for those facing social and economic barriers, Raegan was welcomed into the Momentum community, and began her journey towards financial wellness. It was a journey that brought stability and confidence, which ultimately had a profoundly positive impact on her physical and mental wellness as well.
Growing up, Raegan’s understanding of money was overshadowed by stress and anxiety. After completing Momentum’s Youth Fair Gains program and developing a healthy relationship with money, Raegan now enjoys working with finances. “I know most people probably wouldn’t say this, but my two favourite classes were credit and taxes. I love doing my taxes, it is like filling in a colour by number, except with money!”
Since her time with Momentum, Raegan has graduated post-secondary school and specializes in social work, so she can help others in situations similar to what she experienced growing up. She’s been able to save and use credit responsibly, and recently saved enough for her first vacation outside of Canada. “With a new relationship towards money, I feel healthier and happier, and can do more of the things that I love.”
She now works with two youth-serving agencies in Calgary, and is taking additional courses to elevate her career even further. She has a secure circle of support, filled with kind friends she met along her journey. “You could say I grew up with Momentum – it was part of my life when I needed it most. They helped to turn a painful transition into a time of growth. Yes, they taught me about credit, assets, and banking, but they also taught me how to plan for the future, and showed me the passion I would have for helping others. Now, I finally feel like I can focus on being a young person again.”