Travis is larger than life. His personality fills any room he enters. Travis is polite, well-spoken and humble. In high school, he met the girl of his dreams, but was also introduced to partying. Travis describes himself as an extreme person – either all in our all out. He fell in love with his future wife and also began what would become a fifteen-year destructive relationship with alcohol that would change his life forever.
Travis’ life was unstable to say the least. Though he married his high school sweetheart at the age of seventeen and had three kids, he was not completely satisfied with the direction of his life. The last five to six years of his drinking life were, in his words, “miserable,” consisting of far too much partying. The destructive lifestyle Travis developed was causing problems in every facet of his life. It became too much for his family to endure any longer.
Something finally clicked in Travis’ mind. He knew he needed to make a positive change in his life or face losing everything and everyone he cared about. Travis enrolled in a fifteen-month long substance abuse program at the Hope Center, a United Way partner agency. But it was another United Way program that helped him continue the necessary changes in his life. In addition to helping him fight his addiction, the program taught him valuable life skills. He learned about United Way’s Back on Track program, a matched savings program that helps individuals and families pursue life goals of either owning their own businesses, continuing their education or owning their own homes.
Travis had always worked in construction. He often had thoughts of owning his own business, but never really had the drive or the resources to do so. As soon as he went back to work, he started saving money to achieve the dream of being his own boss. As Travis saved money, the United Way matched it. He describes the Back on Track program as a hand up, not a hand out. The matched savings program helped him purchase the tools and equipment he needed to be a successful business owner. It was a huge blessing – a gift, in his words.
Because of United Way’s Back on Track program, Travis, now thirty-one, is operating his own business. He can sustain himself and provide for his family, all while working in the field that he loves. Travis’ wife says it is surreal to consider where they are now as a family compared to the circumstances they faced previously. Travis, his wife of fourteen years and his three girls are now hopeful for the future.
This is just one of the many stories that illustrates how United Way sparks transformative changes in the lives of families in the Bluegrass. Travis is now fixing roofs, building decks and continuing to repair himself. Travis and his family are living, breathing examples of why your support of United Way is critical to the further development of our Bluegrass community.