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High-Rise Goals: A Beautiful Story Of Achievement From TJF

Christayl’s dream was to leave the West Side of Chicago and move with her children to a downtown high-rise.

Living on the West Side was rough. Her apartment was in disrepair, and repeated complaints about pest infestations went unanswered. She had always worked, mostly temporary jobs, but it was never enough to move. One year ago, Christayl found The Journey Forward and began working towards her goals.

Raising her children in the daily mix of violence and uncertainty took a toll on her spirit and will. But she would remember that dream of a high-rise and decided she was tired of asking, “Why don’t you have a better life?” and decided to make a change.

When Christayl started working with The Journey Forward, her credit score was in the low 500s, significantly reducing her housing options.

Christayl enrolled in financial workshops at The Journey Forward and enrolled in the Family-Centered Coaching program. She worked with a Financial Coach on budgeting, improving her credit score, paying down credit cards, managing her student loan debt, and building savings. Her Family Coach provided valuable resources that helped her access furniture and other essential supports. Working with our partner, E&ES, she began setting career goals. Each session, she gained knowledge and confidence to improve her life.

Christayl secured a permanent job at a Chicago nonprofit. With a credit score in the 700s, she was able to move her family to a downtown high-rise and fulfill her dream.

“I’m living the life I’ve always imagined. This is the first furnished apartment we’ve had in six years,” she said. “We belong here, just like everyone else in this building. My older kids say that they are so proud of me. I’ve never heard that from them before. My six-year-old actually woke up one day and said, ‘I’m on top of the world.’”

“Now I can buy my kid’s vitamins, as well as dumbbells to work out with,” she added. “I take yoga. I’ve got time to live!”

This was not an easy journey for Christyal; she worked hard and she made significant changes to create a better life for her family.

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The Journey Forward

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