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A look back at a week of truly rising above the wage

11:43 PM, Feb 22, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- All this week, we profiled three people living in very tight financial situations day in, day out.

"When I was unemployed, it was hell," Dwayne Carroll, 43, of Jacksonville said.

Carroll is one of the people we profiled. He is in school, between jobs and survives on food stamps.

"The way the economy is, no jobs, no nothing. It's just been hard," Carroll explained.

First Coast News found a wealth of solutions for Carroll and people living in the same situation.


For example, free food options around the city. First Coast News Consumer Reporter David Williams used real coupons and circulars for a true breakdown of how you can feed your family for a week on $100.

We also profiled Caridad Gato-Klar, who works full time but struggles to support her family.

"I'm going to have to get a part time job just to make ends meet," she told First Coast News.

For people and families like hers, we found more tools. There are free financial education programs and free financial workshops available to anyone seeking help.

We also introduced you to Mary Shell. One morning, she recounted her depths of depression as she waits for work. She told us how she leans on faith.

"I have come here plenty of times and just screamed and cried and just go to sleep," Shell said as she thought back to her lowest moment.

For Shell and families like hers, we found many resources.

For example, we found a wealth of job search and counseling agencies in North Florida and Southeast Georgia. We also found real free or reduced price mental health offerings.

We at First Coast News want you to know there are ways out and help is available to you.

"It does require an incredible commitment, dedication and persistence," United Way's Real Sense initiative Executive Director, Jeff Winkler said. "I think learning and understanding how your spending occurs is very very important as an initial step."

Klar said she can attest: The climb up and out is arduous.

"That it's not easy," she explained. "As I'm learning, sometimes you do have to open your mouth and ask for help."

That is the first step in a climb up during a commitment to change.

"If someone's pulling you up, and you see someone down there, pull them up," Klar said in explaining her journey to change.

Shell echoed the same sentiment, speaking from a place within herself.

"I want to be stronger, I want to be wiser, I want to be better towards people," she said.

Carroll now sees where he wants to go.

"It was like I was at the bottom of the pit, but, I can see myself climbing out now."

First Coast News

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