Where are they now? Former client thriving with local business

In 2014, we shared part of Sarah’s story with our donors, as Sarah was a relatively new small business owner, utilizing SNAP Financial Access. Today she continues to thrive, highlights of which we wanted to share.

Though Sarah didn’t know anyone here, a move to Spokane in 2008 was a turning point for her, knowing she needed to change her circumstances for the betterment of her young family.

“Giving others hope gave me hope.”

Upon moving to Spokane, Sarah moved into a family shelter with her kids. There she found a network of support she wouldn’t have expected. For the next 18 months, she and the other women in the shelter leaned on one another for support, forming a tight-knit community on which they each could rely. Sarah found herself encouraged by these women and was able to make consistent and subtle changes to build herself up.

Sarah also came to appreciate the local resources available to her, citing that she couldn’t have made the strides she did without help from others. She first utilized SNAP services when she was connected with a childcare option that would allow her to fulfill a work-study job at Habitat for Humanity while taking classes as Spokane Community College. Wanting to be involved in these programs that had helped her, Sarah gave back when she could, donating her time at the shelter or items she had. “Giving others hope gave me hope,” she says. She continues to give back today, being active in her community and continuing to support women through her business by offering them job opportunities.

Around 2009, Sarah and her kids moved into SNAP-owned Riverwalk, where they lived for the next few years. This move provided a safe, affordable housing option that offered them yet another healthy community with families and a strong support network. Sarah thinks back on this time positively, acknowledging that it was key in reaching where she is today.

Sarah built trust with many who helped her during her time of transition. As a result she was given opportunities to clean some houses, then offices, then a big medical building. Out of these experiences grew a small business idea, and with the help of SNAP’s Women’s Business Center, Sarah took classes, launching Clocktower Cleaning, formerly Sarah’s Cleaning Service. She was able to hire some of her Riverwalk neighbors and other women she had met along her way. Her success in turn gave these women hope and opportunities for empowerment, a positive feedback loop that fueled them all to keep working toward their goals.

Sarah’s business now employs nine women who have found her by word of mouth, an organic process that she feels is also part of the journey as they build hope and find ways to make progress in their own lives. This year, Sarah purchased her own home in Airway Heights, and her bond with her children is strong.  She is especially proud of her oldest son who is an active-duty Marine, stationed in Okinawa, Japan.

With the help of community support, Sarah has been able to achieve amazing things of which she always knew she was capable:

” I want SNAP supporters to understand that clients using these services can grow, move forward, and return to give back, both to the community, and to the programs that once supported them.” – Sarah