Betty is a widow with her hands full. Her husband died six years ago, leaving her with her 3-month-old son and her stepdaughter to look after. She flourished in her role as sole breadwinner by creating her own small business in the local community. 

The business was a perfect solution to balancing work, raising a child on the autism spectrum, and helping protect her stepchild from a less than perfect home life. She was doing great until COVID-19 restrictions created a climate where she couldn’t provide the in-home services that her business had been built on. Unfortunately, her income came to a halt.

Having a hard time making ends meet at that time, Betty was already between a financial rock and a hard place when she found out she would need to plan to find new living arrangements so that her stepdaughter could live with her.

Not used to asking for any kind of assistance, Betty was unsure of where to turn so she reached out to United Way of East TN Highlands for help. Thanks to partners at places like Salvation Army, Good Samaritan Ministries, and a generous grant to help those struggling to make ends meet, United Way of East TN Highlands was able to help Betty find the perfect place for her and her children.

She moved into a new home without causing extreme financial hardship on her family.  She was able to focus her energy on the mental health of her daughter and son, look for new employment, and live free of the angst and worry that a situation like this could cause.

Betty’s situation and others like hers was a primary reason that United Way will open a Financial Empowerment Center in Elizabethton, with hubs in Washington and Johnson Counties.  A place where those in need can get digital access and find assistance in navigating the path to a better life.

About United Way of East TN Highlands
Serving Washington, Carter, Johnson and Southern Sullivan Counties, our goal is to break the cycle of poverty by uniting people and resources to strengthen the health, education and financial stability of every person in our community. Our vision is to be a community united to empower every person and organization to reach their full potential and achieve more.


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