SEEDing success: ‘Economic and emotional trauma’ overcome with a little help.


Mary has seen how poverty’s shadow can be lifted.

In 2010, her 25-year marriage ended, leaving her a single mother of six. She had just started college when she began experiencing debilitating pain in her jaw.

Mary lifts the shadow of poverty.

Mary says SEED changed her life. “So, I began donating to United Way. This is generally what happens. We go from people in need to people
who can contribute.”

Her doctor told her she had a tooth infection—one that proved later to be life-threatening, but that she could not afford to have treated.

Mary describes it as a time of “economic and emotional trauma.”

At college Mary found a brochure for SEED Winnipeg’s asset building programs and enrolled in a Savings Circle where she learned about budgeting, money management and set a savings goal of $250.

“Many people never, ever had the slightest exposure to a positive way of looking at life…to an experience of how to find what is possible. In one class you can take people from that to lining up their possible outcomes.”

In six months, with a three-to-one match incentive from SEED, Mary was able to save $1000 and pay to fix the tooth that had tormented her for the entire first year of school.

After earning her diploma in community economic development in 2012, Mary joined the SEED team as a Program Coordinator in money management training. So inspired by the transformative power of the program, Mary took to promoting asset building by handing out brochures at North End bus stops, hoping to bring more awareness of their services to those who need them.

Mary says SEED is much more than employment, financial literacy and business development programs for newcomers and low-income earners. SEED shows people a new path.

It’s a larger poverty to see no possibility. It’s an emotional thing, right? As soon as you start acting on any potential the whole picture changes right away.”