With medical bills piling up and her husband unable to work for two years, Hiedi didn't know where to turn for help--until a friend at church introduced her to Circles. 

 

I was brought up in a low-income household, and my parents did the best they could with what they had. My husband James came from a military family. He was born with clubfoot which has caused many problems itself. His parents were divorced and both remarried. His stepmother was abusive, and had caused some permanent damage. We have a 15-year-old daughter, Nevaeh, who is super wonderful when she wants to be. We also have three older boys.

In 2011, my husband got an amazing job working for Lifetime Products as a robot tech. He really enjoyed his job and loved the things he was doing. However, he started having pains in his ankle joints due to the club foot in 2013. His shift supervisor had sent him to Work Med to have his ankles looked at, and they determined they he needed to see an orthopedic surgeon.

The doctor told us that my husband had zero percent cartilage left in his left ankle and only seven percent left in his right due to years of work.

So needless to say, he needed surgeries on both ankle joints to fuse the bones.

My husband couldn’t work for two years while recovering from surgeries. He couldn’t return to his old job either, so the leader of our local congregation set him up with a job at the Deseret Industries where he earned minimum wage with part-time hours. While this job helped him learn new skills and learn what his physical limits were, we were barely making ends meet. Our only income was Supplemental Security Income (which isn't very much) and his wages from the Deseret Industries.

We were living paycheck-to-paycheck, picking and choosing what bills we would pay each month. We didn't make enough to pay all of them.

The only way we were able to survive through all the medical bills and having kids at home was with the help of Medicaid and food stamps. But this wasn't anything abnormal for me because I have never known life without food stamps. My grandparents were always on state assistance and my parents as well. Even so, I wanted to know a different life. I was tired of not being able to live a real life.

Then we were introduced by a church friend of ours, Lamont Hampton, to a new program—Circles Davis County. At first I was really skeptical. I thought, “How could going and sitting in a group with a bunch of people in my situation help me get out of this situation?” But Lamont had mentioned that dinner would be served at these events, so honestly that's why I first started going: I knew once a week I was going to have dinner.

In this initiative, they don't do things for you; they teach you how to do the things yourself. They give you the tools to do them and let you choose whether you implement them or not.

The things that helped my husband and I get to where we are today was learning about budgeting, life skills, parenting, how to set obtainable goals, how to execute them and how to be accountable. Through Circles and our local church, my husband now works at Orbital ATK with a salaried job.

For the first time in our lives, we don't need food stamps or medical help.

Admittedly at first this felt weird and unnatural. There was definitely an adjustment period. But after a few months it became more about being proud of the things that we had accomplished and not so much on the adjustments. My husband now has great government insurance, great pay and a job that he absolutely loves.

Through this program we have gone from living paycheck-to-paycheck (barely making it) to not having to worry about having money left over at the end of the month.

We can pay all of our bills! We were able to finance and purchase a vehicle with a warranty, which we have never been able to do before. Now we’re working on buying our very own house and not renting anymore. It feels so wonderful to not have to pay somebody else's bills.