Spotlight on WANDA

wanda-logo-colorThrough education, mentoring, and savings programs, WANDA (Women’s Achievement Network and Development Alliance) has become a critical foundation for success for many single moms in the Bay Area.  The stories of these single mothers working to better themselves and create a stable life for their children is inspiring. Here is one such story:


“When I found WANDA, I was newly single. I literally had no job, no car, no education, no money, no house and two small kids (who I homeschooled) on top of it. When I was accept
d into the WANDA program, the first valuable lesson I learned was that my dreams were attainable and I could be successful in my own right. I loved being with a diverse group of mothers with different backgrounds, and while at different stages, were finding common ground in their goal setting and level of financial education. I love knowing that there is support for women who might not have pedigree or resources or education, and that despite of or even because of the struggles and hurdles they (we) face, there are strong believers who support women where they are and to become who they want to be. 

WANDA supports personal growth. What is more valuable and stabilizing in a society than supporting, educating, and uplifting mothers? The skills I learned through the Wcohort-7-copyANDA workshops have taught me to save money as well as manage money. Having a nest egg has given me a free mind, a “being in abundance,” and security even in my relatively modest savings to make bold business moves that are aligned with my values, beliefs and passions. Because of this safety net, I felt confident to invest in the simplest of tools to elevate my business and thus grow my business into what it is today. I used my money to buy a computer and business software. In the bay area, a culture of polished start-ups and business savvy clients, I was able to shift to professional billing, and also track my spending, earnings and profit margins on projects. The new laptop gave me the ability to interface with clients professionally. I was able to brand myself via website and business cards and create corporate identity using programs that were not compatible with my previous, very old and outdated computer. 

Another considerable purchase was the down payment on a work truck. When I started WANDA, I managed to scrape up $1,000 and work off the rest to get a 1999 ford explorer with 3 working doors, chipped paint, stripped down upholstery. On any given day I could be seen cruising down El Camino with a truck full of plants, trees, orchids, bags of soil, once a bag of manure that I am sure lingers to this day. Then I would go and pick up my kids from school with all these plants in the car, and there wouldn’t be any room, but we somehow found a way, to “be careful of the products!”…”just crouch down, don’t bend that branch, we are almost home!” were common phrases to the little ones. It was just what we had to do to get by. 

WANDA funds allowed for a down payment on my work truck. I bought a used truck with a cab large enough to accommodate for my children in the back seat while still allowing for trees and plants in the truck bed. The day I bought the truck I got a sod installation job. Normally I have to hire a guy with a truck to deliver large, miscellaneous items to my job site. Not this time! Instantly that truck made me over $300! I still remember my fist day in the truck picking my boy up from school. It was directly after I had worked with sod, soils, and wheel barrels…I picked up my boy and the cab was clean and he was so proud, he gave me a big high five. That means so much to me to show him how strong, resourceful and capable I am of providing for our family.

img_0721The message of success through saving, perseverance and dedication to a dream I believe in came through strong. I have no doubt that stories among WANDA alumnae would be similar in their gratitude and pride in saving and realization of goals. 

When we get to show our babies what success looks like we get to shine. We are superwomen and WANDA is helping illuminate us, through education, support and community. 

I have graduated from the WANDA program and have fully realized my savings goals. At this stage I am nine credits away from my Associates Degree in Health Sciences and poised to enter University next fall. I have used some of my WANDA savings to fund my education in my health services career path by adding yoga certification to my tool belt. 

Sometimes, when the day is so full of drudgery and I don’t know why I am so crazy and bent on my big dreams of a holistic healing center, I think about my journey over the last 4 years, how my community has supported me thus far. I have experienced miracles. I have shown my children through gritty, bloody, sweaty hard work, through determination, by not giving in, that we CAN make our wildest dreams our lives. We are valuable, our work matters, we are part of a bigger picture than ourselves. WANDA is part of that message.”

My deepest THANK YOU for the people that make WANDA what it is. 


[This is an original post to Witchy Wonderful, the official blog of the Bella Vista League, the non-profit organization behind the annual Wonderful Witchy Women With A Cause luncheon and silent auction. This year’s event will be held on October 28th, 10:30am – 2:00pm, at the Fairmont Hotel, San Jose.]

Join Us for the 2016 WWW Luncheon and Silent Auction!

joinus_img1It’s that time of year again for the popular Wonderful Witchy Women With A Cause luncheon and silent auction. If you’ve been to past events, then you already know how unique and fun this event is. If you haven’t been yet, then read on…and I hope to see you there!

First and foremost, this event was created to bring awareness of and financial support to the local non-profit charities working everyday to better the lives of women and children in need in their unique way.

A spokesperson from each of the sponsored charities relates personal stories from the people they support to demonstrate how their work  transforms the lives of many local women and children in need for the better  [never a dry eye in the audience]. This year’s supported charities include My New Red Shoes, WANDA, and CASSY. While each organization deserves its own blog post (stay tuned for personal stories in future posts), here’s a short introduction to each:

  • My New Red Shoes – helps low-income and homeless children start the new school year with pride and self-confidence with gifts of new shoes and new school clothing.
  • WANDA – Women’s Achievement Network and Development Alliance – increases the economic self-sufficiency of low-income single mothers through education, networking, and a savings program to achieve personal goals such as owning a home, education, or retirement.
  • CASSY – Counseling and Support Services for Youth – partners with local schools to support students’ social and emotional well-being through counseling, crisis intervention, and mental health education.

Please visit their web sites for more details on their organizations.

And now for a riddle – what do Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the Bailey Flight, a Candy Man, and diamonds have in common? [cue the drum roll…]

YES! You guessed it! All can be found [in one way or another] at this year’s Wonderful Witchy Women With a Cause luncheon and silent auction.

And no, I’m not going to leave you guessing. Stay tuned to this blog to hear more about what you’ll enjoy at the luncheon and silent auction and learn more about our sponsored charities.

[This is an original post to Witchy Wonderful, the official blog of the Bella Vista League, the non-profit organization behind the annual Wonderful Witchy Women With A Cause luncheon and silent auction. This year’s event will be held on October 28th, 10:30am – 2:00pm, at the Fairmont Hotel, San Jose. Tickets are on sale now.]