A few years ago, 20-year-old Beth decided she wanted to adopt a therapy cat to help combat her anxiety, something she has struggled with for as long as she can remember.
“I’ve always had a love for animals and figured incorporating one into my life would help me,” said Beth. “I hoped a cat would serve as a tool to calm me down.”
As much as Beth wanted a cat, she couldn’t afford one at the time and felt unsure about how to save up for such an important purchase. That’s when her outreach support agency suggested she join the Saving Circle program through Manitoba Possible.
The Saving Circle is a money-saving training course run in partnership with SEED Winnipeg, The Assiniboine Credit Union, and United Way Winnipeg. All qualifying participants of the program have a disability and fall into a specific income level. Over 10 weeks, individuals learn the skills to save for something they need, and in return, receive up to a 3:1 match on their savings.
In June of 2021, Beth met with Manitoba Possible’s Program Facilitator, who explained the ins and outs of the program. She then attended weekly virtual training meetings focused on different money-management topics including budgeting strategies, goal setting and building self-confidence.
“I felt welcomed and included in the sessions, even though I’m someone who’s typically shy,” Beth said.
Beth was able to save $250.00 through the program and Manitoba Possible matched it with $750.00, giving her $1000.00 towards adopting a therapy cat.
And last September, Beth was beyond excited to finally make a trip to the Winnipeg Humane Society. There she met Zara, who she says was small and purring a lot.
“She fell asleep in my arms right away and was very cuddly, which got my attention,” said Beth. “Now she’s very energetic and crazy, but I love her anyway!”
Beth says Zara has changed her life in many ways. Her mood has improved and there is always someone there when she’s feeling upset.
“When I’m having a hard time with my mental health and struggling to get going, Zara gives me the boost I need to start my day,” Beth said.
Beth says the Saving Circle also allowed her to learn money management skills that she might not have had a chance to learn elsewhere.
“Since the program, my interest in learning about budgeting has grown and is helping me work towards living independently one day,” she said.
Beth now has a job working concession at Shaw Park. She also recently started attending therapy on a regular basis and is continuing to learn new ways to cope with her anxiety.
“Manitoba Possible provided me with the opportunity to change my life for the better.”