At United Way, we know that, when people have the opportunity to connect with each other and share resources, amazing things can happen.
Necole needed a friend.
Having moved back to Milwaukee with her family after time spent living in the South, Necole struggled to find crucial resources like employment, healthy food, and transportation.
“I didn’t know anyone,” remembered Necole, who was also struggling with an abusive marriage. “There were days when I just wanted to give up.”
A woman at church told Necole to call Silver Spring Neighborhood Center, a United Way partner and local nonprofit agency with the mission of building safer, stronger neighborhoods on Milwaukee’s Northwest side.
Necole met with Shyrida, the adult service manager at Silver Spring, and immediately felt a connection: “I knew she understood what I was going through.”
Shyrida, who herself had experienced abuse, housing instability, and employment struggles in the past, immediately connected Necole with the United Way-funded food pantry at Silver Spring so she could make nutritious meals for her three growing daughters.
“When I first met Necole, I saw she was serious about changing her life,” recalled Shyrida. “I wanted to keep her close to me because she was here in Wisconsin without a lot of friends. I knew I could help her get what she needed.”
In 2017-2018, more than 48,000 local individuals were served by United Way-funded financial stability programs like these at Silver Spring Neighborhood Center.
Shyrida suggested that Necole could build skills and find employment through the Transform Milwaukee Jobs program, and that her girls would benefit from the teen programming offered at the Center.
Shyrida also helped Necole sign up for the Auto Loan Access Program at YWCA, another United Way-funded program, to secure a low-interest auto loan on a car.
With Shyrida looking out for her, Necole began to flourish. Her first job placement was actually at the Silver Spring Neighborhood Center food pantry, where she developed useful organizing skills and built confidence.
Now, a year later, Necole has a job she loves at a local hospital, her family is thriving, and continues to lean on Shyrida. “She even helped me through the divorce process,” said Necole. “Shyrida is my go-to. I call her for everything!”
Shyrida loves that she can share her passion for helping people who struggled like she did. “There is a huge difference between offering services to people and truly understanding their lives and struggles,” said Shyrida. “When that understanding is there, we build lifelong connections.”
“Shyrida and Silver Spring showed me genuine love and helped me in my time of need, and that changed everything,” said Necole. “Now, I feel like I am home.”
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