Santa Maria Helps Yafah Become Financially Independent Through Financial Coaching

Yafah Davis was raised in Seattle and later moved to Cincinnati. She lived in Northside until 2008, when she moved to Price Hill. Now, at 26 years old, Yafah lives with her three children, Donyeh-14, Dayanah-8, and Dayla-2. She enjoys cooking and creating art with her family. Yafah works at The University of Cincinnati Hospital’s main campus as a Patient Care Assistant (PCA) and is a part-time nursing student at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.

Yafah needs help with her bills and learning how to save and spend money because, although she has a good, stable job, she is still living paycheck to paycheck. When Yafah first came to Santa Maria in November 2017, she enrolled in the Stable Families program after her daycare provider recommended it. Stable Families is a program that targets neighborhoods and schools with high student mobility rates and creates long-lasting change by addressing and resolving the issues that push families to the brink of homelessness. Yafah also utilized the services of Santa Maria’s Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) where she worked with financial coach, Destiny Simone.

Like most people, Yafah has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a PCA and essential worker, Yafah was at higher risk of getting the disease, and did, in fact, contract COVID-19 in July 2020 from one of her patients. She then had to isolate herself and be out of work for three weeks. Luckily, no one else in Yafah’s household got COVID-19, but working at the hospital continues to put her and her family’s health at risk every day. Unfortunately, the hospital restricted the number of hours that she could work as well, making Yafah fall short financially. That’s when she began meeting monthly with Destiny to keep her finances in order and improve her knowledge on finance.

Yafah has learned a lot from working with Destiny. To help Yafah stay consistent and accountable, she and Destiny set up a series of meetings so that Yafah could stay on track with her goals. Yafah commented on Destiny’s influence, “She was able to really pinpoint and understand me and my situation.” Yafah also learned better money management skills through Financial Peace University, a finance class created by Dave Ramsey that taught her about beneficial ways to spend and save money. Destiny added, “Through financial coaching, Yafah has begun the process of repairing her credit with a Justine Petersen Twin Account. She started with a score of 571 and ended her Twin Account with a score of 622.” A Twin Account is a way to save money while increasing your credit score. The participant puts money into the savings account, and as long as they do not withdraw money, their credit score increases while they earn money because their deposits are matched in the twin account. In addition, Yafah took a home buying class, where she learned the necessary steps to buy a home, her next big goal.

As a part-time student, part-time employee, and full-time mother, Yafah faces certain challenges. For instance, while Yafah is taking great strides to better her financial situation, she worries about falling back into old, poor spending habits. To help combat this hurdle, she is working with Destiny to stay accountable in her money management and is creating an emergency fund. Through Santa Maria, Yafah has gained confidence in her financial management and does not have to worry about where to call for help if she needs it because Santa Maria will always be there to help.

With the help of Santa Maria, Yafah has created new goals she is determined to accomplish. First, she plans to graduate from nursing school and start her own business. Being passionate about the healthcare field, Yafah plans to create a business based on holistic health and wellness. Santa Maria took her one step closer to achieving that dream by helping her to enroll in a business class at Community Action Agency. Yafah is also working toward creating generational wealth for her children, so they don’t have to go to the measures she had to go to in order to be financially stable. She plans to become financially independent and teach her children to be financially literate.

While there were many obstacles created by the pandemic, Yafah has not let it discourage her. She continues to work toward goals such as starting her own business and helping her family understand finances and becoming financially literate and becoming a home owner someday. Destiny added, “Yafah is the definition of a superhero. She manages to work as a PCA during the pandemic, go to college part-time and help her children through remote learning all while increasing her financial literacy skills to one day change their family dynamic. She’s an inspiration.”

Yafah said that Destiny has helped her as a mentor and friend. Yafah added that Santa Maria’s staff, “get you from point A to point B, don’t apply too much pressure, and let you work at your own pace.”

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