‘Getting out of poverty . . . was my goal!’ says Stand By Me success

September 19, 2023

If anyone knows there are no shortcuts to financial stability, it’s Nakia. She’s been working with Marilyn, one of the Food Bank of Delaware’s Stand By Me coaches, since 2012. Nakia first connected with Marilyn through Wilmington Housing Authority’s resident services. “I was interested in the home-buyers’ program, and I was linked with Marilyn,” she said.

It’s not inaccurate to say that the rest is history, but there’s no need to minimize more than a decade of focus, commitment, and hard work. Early on, Nakia said simply “I wasn’t making enough money.” She was working, and although she had a checking account and some savings, her credit needed bolstering.

With Marilyn’s encouragement, Nakia was able to successfully navigate – and eliminate some credit disputes, then build her credit. Meanwhile, she went back to school to earn certifications in drug and alcohol counseling plus a bachelor’s degree in human services.

With her goal of home ownership, she went through the Wilmington Housing Authority’s first-time home buyers’ program; she was able to purchase her home in 2021. Remember that COVID-19 hit hard in 2020. “My credit score took a hit,” explained Nakia. Although she achieved her home ownership goal, she’s still working toward purchasing a car.

Nakia does not minimize the challenges she’s faced in her lifetime. “Getting out of poverty, that was my goal. You really have to work 10 times harder, stay on the path, be goal oriented.  Still, I don’t have my transportation, but I will. I started in low-income housing, and I show my own children they can do it too. I encourage by children to be financially educated, to reach their goals. The tips I’ve gained, that’s information I passed on.”

She also praises the WHA’s Residents Services Department: “The ladies working in these programs work miracles,” Nakia said. “They are a great team of people.”

As for the car in her future: “I’m thinking about getting a part-time job,” she said. Nakia’s faith is strong, and she’s able to maintain her home. “I’m thankful, grateful, uplifted, and encouraged,” she said. She’s still working with Marilyn, and she relies on the guidance and tips Marilyn continues  to provide.

“I love working with Marilyn. She’s very passionate, and she knows what she’s doing. She tells me ‘You can do it. Don’t give up. You’ll see the rewards.’ “ Nakia said.

To learn more about Stand By Me, visit www.standbymede.org.  Stand By Me coach Marilyn Ramirez (New Castle County) is at 302-292-1305, ext. 266 or email mramirez@fbd.org,and Malacci Robertson (Kent/ Sussex Counties) is at 302-292-1305, ext. 154, or email mrobertson@fbd.org.




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