Jackie Weiler, WANDA Alumna
WANDA is a new grantee of the Palo Alto Community Fund (PACF). On June 6th, PACF held their COMMunity event to celebrate over 90 new grantees. As one of four organizations invited to speak, Alumna Jackie Weiler represented WANDA, sharing an emotional testimonial about the support she has given and received from our WANDA network.
Over Christmas in 2009, Jackie unexpectedly became a single mother. Never having used public funds, she found herself at the welfare office, trying to navigate a complex social service system while managing a myriad of emotions and the day to day reality of caring for a special needs child. At the office, she saw a poster for WANDA, and 2+ years later, she applied to the program. Jackie, a member of cohort 5, stated that WANDA planted the seed of savings and helped her invest her matched funds into a retirement account. That seed grew, and now she has a large 401K and has become a savvy saver. Draped in her purple embroidered WANDA scarf ( a gift for all graduates), Jackie said the scarf is her superhero cape, donning it when she needs that extra boost of confidence. It reminds her of her innate strength and her supportive community of success minded peers – WANDA peers that empower each other in class, and well after.
Finally, Jackie shared how over the last three years, she had two friends from WANDA experience the most extreme tragedies. She talked of how the WANDA community came together to support them with funds, food and legal assistance. She shared how the WANDA community supported her while she was in class, caregiving for her son. To quote Jackie, “WANDA is not just a financial literacy program today. When you finish the program, the network is there to continue to support you in the future.” A decade later, thank you Jackie for continuing to help our WANDA community thrive.