By: Kimberly Murphy—
Muncie, IN—I spent Thanksgiving this year with my family at my side. They’ll be there when I celebrate Christmas, too. I can’t help but look into those faces and think of what might have been and how far I’ve come.
You see, it was just three years ago that I did not know how I could make ends meet. In fact, I couldn’t. A single mom, with few resources and much responsibility, I was that statistic you’ve probably heard about – among the half in Delaware County living in or just at the poverty line.
It wasn’t long ago that my daily choices were between food, kids, cars and the house. Today, thanks in no small part to United Way and the programs it supports, I am well on my way to a more stable, financially sound existence.
In Delaware County, nearly half live in poverty or are ALICE families – these are families who have jobs but are on a razor thin budget, the slightest disruption means disaster. The median household income in Delaware County ranks last in Indiana at $41,874 compared to the state average of $54,134, according to 2019 Indiana Kids Count Data Book published by the Indiana Youth Institute.
Delaware County ranks 18thfor the number of children living in poverty, according to the Kids Count report.
Statistically, 80 percent of children living in low income households are not reading at grade level, which fuels the cycle of generational poverty.
It was this poverty cycle that I faced head-on myself with the help of United Way.
I learned financial literacy through Second Harvest and was a 2015 Circle Leader graduate. That means I participated in a 16-week course that taught me steps to get out of poverty and gave me mentors throughout the year who held me accountable.
In May, I will graduate from Ball State University with a degree in social work and a minor in financial planning and investments. Next semester, I will complete a practicum experience at our United Way office. My job will be to help people who struggle like I did. As a certified tax planner, I’ll help seniors prepare their taxes.
I am no longer a statistic but mine is the story of United Way. It’s because of you – the everyday heroes of Muncie and Delaware County – that this life of possibility is available to me.
We’re so very close to reaching the 2019 campaign goal of $1.5 million. But to be honest, we need a little push to get us over the finish line. I want to talk directly to my community about how reaching that goal means people like me make our goals.
When I make my goal, our community benefits, too. More people to employ. More people with meaningful disposable income. More people to give back and help others. Because of United Way, I am not a statistic. I’m a success.
If you haven’t yet please click here to give now. If you have already given, consider just a bit more to help us close the gap.
Kimberly Murphy, an advocate for United Way, hopes to begin work on her Master’s in Social Work (MSW) within the next year, then find fulltime employment locally.
About United Way of Delaware and Henry Counties
United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. Supported by 2.9 million volunteers, 9.8 million donors worldwide and $4.7 billion raised every year, United Way is the world’s largest privately-funded nonprofit. We’re engaged in 1,800 communities across more than 40 countries and territories worldwide to create sustainable solutions to the challenges facing our communities. United Way partners include global, national and local businesses, nonprofits, government, civic and faith-based organizations, along with educators, labor leaders, health providers, senior citizens, students and more. For more information about United Way of Delaware and Henry Counties, please visit InvitedToLiveUnited.Org. Follow us on Twitter: @LiveUnitedDHC and #LiveUnited.