Faces of Success: Adrienne Clark
A new year is always accompanied by feelings of optimism and hope. New homeowner Adrienne Clark and her family will always remember 2015.
“I’m very excited and overwhelmed with joy; I can’t even explain how excited I am,” she said.
Clark always wanted to become a homeowner, but her financial problems kept her from achieving that goal. “My sister would say to me, ‘We can’t even afford to buy five pieces of bubble gum with our credit.’”
Clark was frustrated with her credit card debt and was ready to make the necessary changes so she could purchase a home. A friend referred her to a home-ownership program offered through Habitat for Humanity. It introduced Clark to free one-on-one financial counseling provided by the Financial Empowerment Center program. The Financial Empowerment Center program — a United Way of Metropolitan Nashville partnership with Mayor Megan Barry’s office — has helped over 3,700 Davidson County residents like Clark achieve a combined debt reduction of $2.9 million and increase their savings by more than $500,000 through 2015.
“My counselor pulled my credit report during my first session,” she said. “She set up a budget plan for me that she knew I could handle.”
For an entire year, Clark followed that plan and worked through the difficult process of rebuilding her credit.
“They remained positive during the counseling sessions and that kept me positive,” said Clark. “My counselor let me know when my credit score went up and also reassured me when I had doubts.”
Clark credits her counselor’s positive energy for keeping her focused on a much larger goal.
“She told me about good news when it happened and gave me high fives,” said Clark. “I was proud of myself for staying positive throughout this entire process.”
Clark’s weekly counseling sessions at the Financial Empowerment Center gradually became monthly sessions. She still works with her counselor to maintain a new budget. It includes a monthly mortgage payment for her brand new home.
“I could start crying right now,” Clark said. “In all of my years, I have never met anyone willing to help me without having to give them something in return. As long as you have a positive attitude and are serious about attending the sessions, the Financial Empowerment Center can help. It’s free; go there and let them help you get your credit back on track.”
2015 was a remarkable year for Adrienne Clark and her family. The Financial Empowerment Center helped Clark purchase her first home. 2016 has a tremendous amount of potential for others in similar financial situations, thanks to the partnership between United Way of Metropolitan Nashville and the Office of Mayor Megan Barry on the Financial Empowerment Center program.