This is the Salazar family – they live in the St. John’s neighborhood in Austin, near the intersection of I-35 and 183. Like many Austin families, they juggle many challenges – tight budgets, long hours and trying to provide the best for their family – so the Salazars need support from their community.
Claudia, the mother, decided to stay at home to care for their children and avoid the high costs of child care while her husband provides for the family by fixing cars.
Between transportation to get to work on time, food, bills and rent – there’s barely enough left at the end of each paycheck. During the summer especially, as the temperatures rise, so do water and electric bills – so a time that most families enjoy together is a time of stress in the Salazar home as their finances get even tighter.
The Salazars have even considered taking out payday loans just to get along – but these can cost thousands in fees and leave them with even more challenges. But the Salazars can turn to United Way to access safer banking options so they can avoid payday lenders – or call our Navigation Center to connect to summer food programs.
In a couple of years, their daughter Kylie will enter middle school where many students begin to fall behind. The Salazar’s know that for Kylie to stay on the path to graduation, she’ll need support from both of them, she’ll need to not worry about food or how she’ll get to school – but with limited financial resources and limited time, her parents aren’t sure how they’ll be able to give her the support she needs.
If Kylie goes to Webb Middle School in their neighborhood, she can get the help she needs from mentoring, tutoring and afterschool programs brought to her campus by United Way.
Just a year-and-half ago, they celebrated the birth of their youngest son, Alan. His parents knew that the first few years would set him on a path for the rest of their life. They wanted the best for their son, but knew they’d have to balance his care with the needs of his siblings and their tight budget.
Alan will be one of just 13 percent of young children in their neighborhood who start school prepared to succeed, because he and his mom participated in quality parent-child education where Claudia learned to become an even better mom and Alan learned things like how to hold a book properly, how to play well with others and how to solve basic problems like getting something down from a high shelf.
The Salazar’s aren’t alone – in the St. John’s neighborhood, 60 percent of children live in poverty. Across greater Austin, there are thousands of families like the Salazars who are struggling – working hard but barely getting by.
It takes a lot to build a family, and even more to thrive as a working family. Luckily, United Way supporters make it possible for families like the Salazars to be part of what makes Austin greater – giving families more options, more support, so we all can thrive.