Tashonna is a 24-year-old student at the University of Louisville who lives in the Smoketown neighborhood. She is studying psychology because she said she wants to help people, and she has experienced her own mental health challenges. Having to stretch her budget doesn't help.
"There would come times where I would have to be like, 'am I going to pay rent, or am I going to buy groceries or pay the phone bill?'" she explained. "But the extra $500 gives me a cushion to where I don't have to make those decisions as often."
She works three jobs, one of which she picked up after she found out she was going to receive regular payments under YALift! When she was selected as a participant and went to Youth Build to complete her YALift! enrollment, she learned of the opportunity to become an AmeriCorps member at the community center. It gives her extra income and a small scholarship for school. Tashonna also works at University of Louisville as an advising assistant to students in the Arts & Sciences, and she drives for DoorDash. She said she spends the monthly $500 she receives mainly on her rent.
"I'm struggling to make the income I make and even that isn't enough," she said. "I mean $500 to some people might not sound like a lot, but when you get it, you realize how much it does help and how much stress it does take off."
Tashonna said knowing she will receive that money each month helps her mentally by allowing her to budget ahead for expenses. It gives her peace of mind, and that's something she is worried about losing when the money from YALift! is no longer available.
"If I could get it again, I would," she said.
"I mean $500 to some people might not sound like a lot, but when you get it, you realize how much it does help and how much stress it does take off."