Sometimes life seems to be one storm after another.Vernicea Washington felt as though the rain kept coming down. She struggled disciplining her growing kids, seemed to be in a constant battle with their father, and then was hit with a difficult housing issue that may have left her with nowhere to go. What Vernicea wanted most was to go back to school for high school diploma so she could start getting ahead.Getting Ahead is just what she did. Vernicea heard about the program from her sister, and found that the support from other struggling single mothers, and the guidance of ECCO staff was exactly what she needed to start putting the pieces back together.Today, Vernicea has her diploma, and is about to graduate from Trident Technical College with a degree in early childhood education. “I got more support from ECCO than I got from my own family and friends, because the staff at ECCO knew exactly how to help me. When I couldn’t see clearly how to carry on, they gave me the courage not to quit.”
Valerie had a rough couple of years, to say the least. Health problems left her disabled, and challenges like divorce and bankruptcy made it difficult to regain control of her life. Knowing that the road to recovery would be difficult, Valerie’s physician referred her to ECCO to get the support she needed to get back on track.Valerie met with Brittany Lacey, a case manager at ECCO. She was overwhelmed by the tasks at hand, and wasn’t sure which direction to take. Brittany guided Valerie through the right channels to increase her independence and move toward financial stability. She helped Valerie apply for disability benefits and support from programs like SNAP. “ECCO has made a huge impact on my life,” Valerie said. “Brittany’s support helped me regain confidence and begin to trust people again. With her knowledge and help, I feel like I can stop surviving and start living again.”
Sometimes life throws big changes at you, and those changes can be a little tough. Angela White was going through some difficult things that left her depressed and unmotivated. She was unemployed and had just moved back to South Carolina, where she didn’t have a lot of family support. She was in a full-blown financial crisis and didn’t know where to turn. Angela heard about ECCO and made an appointment with a case manager. Lyndsi Gibson met with Angela and walked her through the different things that ECCO could offer. Angela enrolled in Getting Ahead and Money Smart. Through these programs, she gained confidence and learned how to express herself, budget her money and accomplish her goals. She also gained a great support network. “Being able to talk openly with other who had similar situations as myself really made me feel like I could handle things better.” Angela knew that she could always rely on her fellow participants or her case manager to help get her through anything.Angela has worked very hard, and now owns and operates her very own food truck. She’s come a long way since she joined ECCO’s family, and is so grateful for the support she has gotten from them.
Gracie Lidell came to ECCO with no money, no insurance, no food, and 5 children in the car. She was frustrated and seemed unable to get help from anyone. But ECCO welcomed her with open arms.Gracie has been able to take advantage of many of ECCO’s services. When she first arrived, she needed help filling basic needs. ECCO’s food and clothing warehouse and prescription assistance program were instrumental in providing those so that she could focus on other issues. ECCO also helped Gracie to provide a nurturing and happy environment for her children through the Santa’s Closet program and a Homework Help program for her daughter. After finding some stability, Gracie began taking classes and participated in the Job Links program. In fact, Gracie was able to get a great job through Job Links. “ECCO saved my life. They helped me when others wouldn’t and gave me hope for a future.”
Sharon Wilson heard about ECCO through a Vocational Rehab program. She was having a hard time. Between unemployment, financial instability and medical problems, she didn’t know how to begin putting her life together. Sharon took the first step toward taking control of her life when she joined the Getting Ahead program. “The support from this program was so helpful to me. I was so down and I felt like I was on a merry-go-round.” In Getting Ahead, Sharon learned about poverty and more specifically, how people get there. She has learned the importance of having a strategy and planning ahead. “I’m more focused on what I’m trying to accomplish,” she said. “I know how to map out my goals, and I know I have a future.” Using the life skills that she learned about at ECCO, Sharon put together a resume and applied for a promising job at the Department of Social Services. She is very hopeful about this new potential opportunity, and urges others to understand how ECCO can help them, too. “I would describe ECCO as family-oriented and very passionate about helping people reach their goals.”