‘Trust the process!’ Stand By Me coach helps mom reach goals

October 27, 2023

Thanks to coaching, encouragement, and ongoing support from Marilyn, the Food Bank of Delaware’s Stand By Me coach, a Wilmington mother of five has nearly navigated the steps to home ownership. And what a journey it’s been.

Jessica, a dialysis technician, says she connected with Marilyn a couple of years ago. “When I met her, I wasn’t working. My credit was beyond bad. I couldn’t get a loan. I was referred to her, and she first helped me clean up my credit and get a job.”

Marilyn Ramirez, one of the Food Bank of Delaware’s Stand By Me financial coaches, is pleased with Jessica’s progress. “She was one of my first clients… she had no savings and never had a budget. Now, she’s working an making good money with a surplus after she pays her bills. She’s now getting approvals from her loan officer; I talked with him today.”

Noting the process was easy, and it often seemed very slow, but as Jessica’s situation improved, she enrolled in Delaware Tech where she completed course work to earn her Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) license. Then she became a phlebotomist, and now works as a dialysis tech.

“My job became stable, and that helped my credit too,” Jessica explained. With Marilyn’s coaching, she started reaching out to creditors in attempt to reduce debt, eventually raising her credit score to 676. In addition, she learned that she could qualify for a secured credit card. “Now I’m working on my mortgage. I don’t want to make one simple mistake that would make all this hard work go to waste,” Jessica said. She’s been working through the Wilmington Housing Authority’s One-Stop Program designed to help people become more self-sufficient.

“I’m making nice money now, and I can say hard work pays off. If I had to give people one piece of advice, it would be to trust the process,” Jessica said, as she reflects on the process Marilyn guided her through.

“I went from doing crazy stuff, crazy, and she changed my life,” she said, as she sobbed. “We became best friends, more than a coach. So many times, I wanted to give up, and she said ‘Don’t give up. Just keep going. I did, and these are good tears, tears of joy.”

Jessica explained she’s waiting for paperwork now, and when she learns the price range for which she has been approved, she plans to search for the right home for her family – young children ranging in age from 3 to 12 years old.

“I will definitely celebrate. Without Marilyn, I would probably be in jail or dead. She changed my life. She’s one of those people who make you feel good and genuinely care about you and want to see you grow,” she 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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