She keeps moving up

When I was answering the questions, I was really scared. They asked questions about my dreams and where do I want to be. I didn’t know - I was stuck with negative thoughts in my mind and thinking how my bad decisions led me to desperate situations. Even though I was terrified, I had to try. I had to make a better life for my baby and myself. We were accepted into the program. I was so excited and ready to hit the ground running on learning new things and making a better life for my family. I completed all the required courses very quickly, and soon I opened up to the other participants and made lasting friendships.

My name is Tara Victoria Williams and I have told my Ripple of One story many times. It brings me great joy to be where I am today and look back and share how far I have come with new participants and volunteers. My son, Lucas, was three years old when we found out about Ripple of One in 2013. I was a single mother living with my parents after my baby’s father had left us homeless and hopeless. I did what anyone would do, I turned to government programs to help me get resources that I needed to survive. I would always have trouble with my finances. It was hard to bounce back after I had helped friends who later ruined my credit and left me with no money. Wanda Belcher was the church secretary and I would go there and she would show me how to make a budget. The problem for me was sticking to the budget. She then told me about the Ripple of One program and I immediately applied.

I had a mentor names Kris Meyers. I will never forget the first day we met. She told me that no matter what, she would always tell me the truth even if it hurt. That was not a lie! We walked every week and became good friends. Even now, I still ask her opinion before I make a big decision. She is ready and willing to talk me through things. She helped me to see that I am worthy of having dreams in life and accomplishing them. Another team member my financial coach Megan Chavis, met with me every month to make sure that I was sticking to my budget.

I was in the Ripple program for 2 years. In those two years, I learned how to manage money, emotions, health and even learned how to change my oil in my car. I paid off $8,000 in debt with the help of the rewards that I received. I graduated college with honors and had the opportunity to work a paid internship that turned into a full-time job. When I graduated from Ripple of One, I left with the knowledge that I could make any dream come true. I also knew that when rough times hit I now had a network of true friends to help pray me through. Some of the best friends that I have now are friends that I met in Ripple. Fast forward to now, I have a great career at Clemson University doing Insurance and Billing at Redfern Health Center. I have completed my Bachelor’s Degree in Science of Healthcare Administration, graduating Magna Cum Laude in December of 2018. I am so grateful for Ripple of One and all that they taught me about following your dreams and looking for your purpose in life. When I started, I had no purpose, but now I have a new purpose in life. I am excited about making my Ripple in the world. What will your Ripple be?

Proud mama: Victoria with her son Lucas

Proud mama: Victoria with her son Lucas

Stephanie Enders