united way of greater chattanooga



From down on his luck to up on his feet

“I feel successful. I feel secure.” 

Even these thoughts seemed practically impossible just months ago for Oscar. He had found himself without work and was unsure how to even make ends meet.

But out of work should never mean out of possibilities.  As long as you’re trying, you have a chance. Oscar knew he needed to regain stability in order to return to his place as a successful, productive member of society.

Stability is key to living life to the fullest. And through the Building Stable Lives Neighborhood Program, United Way partners with neighborhood-based services to help people overcome barriers obstructing stability and success. 

Oscar’s first appointment was with Northside Neighborhood House, a community partner of United Way. After a résumé boost and interview prep, Oscar began submitting job applications. But that wasn't the end of their support. 

 “Once my resume was at a level I was proud of, I was recommended to a staffing agency, and they were very helpful throughout the whole process.”  Eventually, Oscar’s hard work and self-confidence paid off.  “The agency called me and, well, I’ve been employed 90 days now,” Oscar says proudly.  “And I don’t want to stop there.” 

Oscar’s now investigating the graduate programs at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, with an eye at an advanced degree in industrial management or manufacturing.  Thanks to the helping hand and guidance he received, Oscar faces his future with his feet solidly planted.  His living expenses are under control and he now has reliable transportationand moved into a new home. Further, Oscar “pays it forward” by helping neighbors who find themselves in similar situations. 

“For the first time in a while, I feel sure. I feel strong. I feel confident. And I’m ready for the next step.”

United Way is proud to fund programs like the one Oscar took part in. More than half of all participating families are gaining stability and independence by finding employment, entering an education program and living in safe, affordable housing. Oscar, like 14,902 people in our community, received food, transportation, and other basic needs from a United Way-supported program — and that creates a stronger society for all.