OACAC Gives Hope

In 2016, Sandra Vanhandel-Harrison’s husband had been laid off once again. When Sandra asked herself, “Where can I go?” she immediately thought of Community Action, more specifically, Webster County OACAC.

Sandra made an appointment with the Neighborhood Center to discuss her situation and seek support. To help empower her and support her goals of self-sufficiency, she signed up for Budgeting and Financial Planning Life Skills workshops that were offered. “I actually learned budgeting as an adult through OACAC. I found that I was not alone and the class was taught in a supportive, understandable manner. The presenter, Sarah Lowe, took time after class to answer questions and explain things to me. She provided a notebook on budgeting and I took it home and went through it. The financial planning class was the beginning of my mission to become self-sufficient and helped me to look at our situation and what we wanted and how to accomplish it. My husband and I decided to start our own business, Americus Contracting – General Contractors and Property Preservation. We became self-sufficient.”

Staff at Webster County Neighborhood Center didn’t see the family for a few years, nor did they know about the impact the classes had made on the family. One day, Sandra stopped in the office. She shared that their business had been a victim of identity fraud and was in trouble. Once again, she thought of OACAC. “I felt relief when I came in the door. OACAC gives hope. OACAC rates as one of the best in our community for help.” Staff shared resources, encouraged participation in Energy Assistance and provided donated supplies for basic needs to help ease the current burden. Sandra is now connected to SCORE, a local and nationwide program that provides counseling, support and education to small business owners through a non-profit business association of retired business professionals. Things are looking up!

Written by Debi Reece, Webster County Neighborhood Center Supervisor, with permission from and collaboration with Sandra Vanhandel-Harrison.