Yes, doing all the right things -dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s – is no guarantee that your story is going to turn out well. Consider the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs, and a whole lot more. A lot of them did the right thing: good grades, went to college, or learned a trade. They worked hard; paid their bills, and made sure their families were fed, clothed, and cared for. Maybe they couldn’t do all that, and put away money for a rainy day. But, they were doing everything else right.
Then, the unexpected happens: and, when it does, doing everything right doesn’t guarantee everything is going to turn out right.
To illustrate, a young couple with a new baby came to Community Lifeline Center requesting financial assistance with rent. A newborn baby is a blessing; but, as we all know – new parents, in particular- there is no way to anticipate everything. The couple had carefully planned for the baby. Their house was in order financially and mentally. Unfortunately, the unexpected arrived along with their baby.
Their child was born 6 weeks early, resulting in a stay in the neonatal intensive care unit for 5 weeks. 5 weeks in the NICU resulted in large medical bills, missed work, and an end to maternity leave. And, while they were joyful that their baby was now home, they wanted to keep it that way, but their savings were used up. Without rent, there wouldn’t be a home to stay in.
The Community Lifeline Center Case Manager met with the couple and completed a plan for self-sufficiency. The husband was getting back to work full time and was struggling with catching up on bills. Community Lifeline doesn’t pay late fees, but was able to assist with household expenses so that the couple could catch up and start their new lives as financially stable parents. They attended the financial budgeting class at CLC and received endless resources on increasing and maintaining an income as well as resources needed for new parents. CLC was able to assist them in getting back to self-sufficiency and the couples continue to check in with the Case Manager weekly to say thank you and ask how they can give back to the community themselves.
Good people. Smart planning. Unexpected events. They did what they were supposed to do, but were blindsided by life. Doing everything right doesn’t guarantee we won’t have to ask for help. So, maybe the rest of us aren’t smarter: we’re just luckier.