We often find ourselves faced with tough questions from mothers, funders, and partners. These questions challenge the very essence of what we do and why we do it. They make us reevaluate our approach, our mission, and our vision. One such question that was recently asked was, “what is $4,000 when you have $20,000 in debt? How come others aren’t struggling like me?” It’s a question that goes straight to the heart of our work at WANDA, and it deserves a thoughtful response.
When you’re ensnared in the relentless struggle of day-to-day survival, it’s hard to see the bigger picture. The burdens of debt, poverty, and relentless rejigging of priorities can obscure the horizon, making it seem like $4,000 is a drop in a vast ocean of financial distress. We understand this perspective all too well. However, it’s crucial to remember that WANDA is not just providing a financial match – we’re offering a path toward a brighter future, a long-term plan, and a legacy for families.
WANDA is specifically designed to be an investment in oneself. We don’t see $4,000 as merely a monetary value; we see it as one spark that can ignite change. This investment of capital, however modest it may seem, can be the seed from which financial stability and professional and personal empowerment grows.
Some have asked, “Why not just give cash, like UBI stipend models?” It’s a fair question, and the answer lies in the fundamental difference between what WANDA offers and the purpose of universal basic income (UBI) or cash assistance programs. UBI and similar initiatives are vital and effective tools in the fight against poverty, and they serve as a safety net for many. But WANDA is different.
WANDA is not a band-aid or a quick fix. We’re a program that acknowledges the root causes of poverty and our approach is to empower individuals and families to become self-sufficient and view opportunity in all aspects of their lives. We provide not just financial assistance but also peer connection and mentorship, education, and a success-minded community that supports personal growth and economic mobility. We focus on self-efficacy and motivation – giving single mothers the tools to build their own future while they wait for policy changes to catch up with the urgency of their needs.
Yes, others do struggle, and poverty can be a profoundly isolating and traumatic experience. We don’t diminish the importance of cash assistance programs, UBI, or the work of other organizations dedicated to alleviating immediate financial distress. We recognize that these initiatives play a crucial role in addressing the urgent needs of those in poverty. But WANDA’s mission is to do more than just alleviate immediate suffering. We aim to break the cycle of poverty by offering a comprehensive, long-term approach that equips families with the skills and mindset to overcome the odds stacked against them – supporting them to recognize that they themselves are their own most important asset, worthy of investment.