Roman J. Salamon

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Financial literacy program empowers community advocate to better the life of his daughter and his neighborhood

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Myron Simmons was discouraged by his financial situation. His student loans were defaulted and he had a bad line of credit – or so he thought. This discouragement led to an avoidance that only made matters worse.

Then one day he received an email from a friend about a financial literacy program with Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois. He decided it was worth a shot. He neglected his personal financial situation after investing many years focusing on others as a community advocate. As a father of a five-year-old, he knew it was time to invest in him in order to better the life of his community, and more importantly, his daughter.

The program, which is part of United Way of Rock River Valley’s community impact focus in Income, gave Myron the guidance he needed to get to the bottom of his financial mess. He increased his financial acumen, learned how to build up credit and where to go for loan assistance. As a result, his loans are no longer defaulted and he has begun to pay them off.

Now that Myron is more financially stable, he plans to continue his education to pursue a career as a juvenile probation officer or paralegal. Ultimately, his goal is to help people understand the law and the consequences of making poor choices.

The whole community benefits when more working families and individuals like Myron are able to stop walking a financial tightrope and get on solid ground. That’s why United Way focuses on lasting solutions that go beyond charity, because financially stable people are more likely to have access to quality health care, provide a good education for their children, and contribute to their local economies.

“If I can help even three kids from going down a bad path, then I know I’m helping to build a better community for my daughter to grow up in,” says Myron.

Learn more about United Way’s collective impact approach for improving people’s lives and strengthening our neighborhoods, and our investment in community programs by visiting the Our Impact section.

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