Wednesday, August 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

SparkPoint helps people deal with tough financial times

SparkPoint Solano participant Danielle McCleary, center, laughs with United Way employees Aimee Durfee, left, and Christa Brown, right, as she recounts her experience going through the program. SparkPoint has helped McCleary balance her finances and is assisting her with her job search. (Mike Greener/Daily Republic)

SparkPoint Solano participant Danielle McCleary, center, laughs with United Way employees Aimee Durfee, left, and Christa Brown, right, as she recounts her experience going through the program. SparkPoint has helped McCleary balance her finances and is assisting her with her job search. (Mike Greener/Daily Republic)

By
From page C1 | November 27, 2011 |

FAIRFIELD — Brenda McPeek’s washing machine broke down and she needed to learn how to manage her money to save enough for a replacement.

She got help from SparkPoint, a new United Way program at the Family Resource Center at Cleo Gordon Elementary School.

McPeek lives with her in-laws along with her husband and two children. Her husband has a job with NAPA Auto Parts, so the family had some money to work with if they could only change some habits and save.

“I knew how to do it, but I didn’t have anyone telling me I could do it,” McPeek said.

Enter SparkPoint.

During tough financial times, the anti-poverty program offers people such things as classes on managing finances and advice on how to get jobs.

McPeek found out about SparkPoint and took a financial education workshop. She got the motivation she needed to do such things as stop having the family eat dinner at McDonald’s several nights a week and start cooking with Hamburger Helper instead. Eating out seemed convenient amid the sometimes-hectic pace of family life, but it also proved to be a money-eater.

The McPeeks saved enough money to team up with McPeek’s in-laws and buy an $800 washer. They saved enough money to send McPeek and the children to Texas to see her family.

It took sacrifices, such as McPeek’s husband working overtime. Then the McPeeks fell back into their old habits.

“We were eating out again, not eating at home,” she said.

She needed some reinforcement. She went back to the SparkPoint class.

“It’s a life change,” said Maria Gabbart of SparkPoint. “Just because you do it once or twice, you’re not home free.”

Danielle McCleary lost her job and moved from Livermore to Fairfield a year ago with her children to live with her sister. She needs a job.

“It’s rough out there,” McCleary said. “The economy is so rough.”

SparkPoint gives her such help as working with her on her resume and giving her job interview tips.

“It’s just the support, the extra support,” McCleary said.

McCleary wants a clerical job. She is five classes short of getting a business administration degree from California State University, East Bay and she plans to pursue this.

United Way has established eight SparkPoint centers in the Bay Area, including the Fairfield center and one in Vallejo. The centers deliver some existing services in different ways and introduce some new ones.

“Because the economic times are so horrible, we decided we’re going to start doing things differently,” said Aimee Durfee of United Way.

Launching the new program cost a couple of million dollars, she said.

“We’ve taken a hit like everyone else has,” Durfee said. “But we’ve made this a priority.”

And United Way has received help. For example, Travis Credit Union helps with the free financial education workshops. The Family Resource Center provides the site in a portable building at Cleo Gordon Elementary School.

Solano County’s two SparkPoint centers have served more than 60 families since March. The goal is to help families escape poverty and establish lasting financial security.

According to United Way, a family with two adults and two school-age children needs to earn $64,949 annually to be economically self-sufficient in Solano County, a 19 percent increase from 2008. Health care, housing and child care costs have all increased sharply over the past three years.

Call 421-3963  to learn more about the Fairfield SparkPoint center.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929, or beberling@dailyrepublic.net.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Vacaville school board candidates sound off during forum

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Memorial flight honors beloved Gordon Valley man

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Recology goes pink to trash cancer

By Glen Faison | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Curtola park-and-ride bill goes to governor

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
City reaches milestone for train station project

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 16 Comments | Gallery

 
Caltrans advises Highway 12 delays likely

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 5 Comments

Library’s teen board to meet next week

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

 
South Solano Dems schedule candidates meet, greet

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

 
Man convicted of failing to register as sex offender

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5, 15 Comments | Gallery

 
DUI checkpoint nets arrests in Vacaville

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5, 7 Comments

 
 
 
Geiger sworn in as Fairfield planning commissioner

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A6

Faith in Action puts out call for volunteers

By Glen Faison | From Page: A6

 
Love, a legend, come to theaters

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

Suisun City police log: Aug. 17, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 16, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Aug. 17, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Aug. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 16, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

.

US / World

How can authorities restore order in Ferguson?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 28 Comments | Gallery

 
Holder brings his civil rights push to Ferguson

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 6 Comments

Strong DOJ response to Ferguson seeks truth, calm

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
As protests rage, Obama struggles to find his role

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Ferguson pledges outreach efforts after shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Prison company pays $8 million in back wages

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Some evacuees of Yosemite-area fire can go home

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Officials say Lake Tahoe imperiled by wildfires

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Committee approves higher pension calculations

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Veteran rock climber killed in fall in Yosemite

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8 | Gallery

US officials: Video shows American’s beheading

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Texas Gov. Perry booked on abuse of power charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 6 Comments

NY took quick precautions after in-custody death

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
AP Exclusive: US changing no-fly list rules

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Tens of thousands march on Pakistan’s parliament

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13 | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

Serve and protect? Certainly not

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 23 Comments

 
Question of the week: Does school start too soon?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A11

 
Government trying to steal rights

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 24 Comments

No getting away from corruption in state government

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A11

 
Editorial cartoons for Aug. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

Today in History: Aug. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Aug. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Aug. 20, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Our daughter says she hates her mother and refuses to talk to us

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

 
10 Things: 10 fresh ways to dress corn on the cob

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Think beyond the slice with refreshing watermelon

By J.M. Hirsch | From Page: B6

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson set for DC Comics film

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

Don Pardo, iconic TV announcer, dies at 96

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Wife to bury Kasem in Norway, cites heritage

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

.

Sports

Rancho Solano women’s team vying for spot in nationals

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
49ers sign defensive lineman Dorsey to extension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

49ers’ Dawson eager to get back out kicking after misses

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Ohio State: Injured QB Miller done for the season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Past US Open champs Djokovic, Federer seeded 1-2 in U.S. Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Joe Gibbs Racing hires Carl Edwards and Daniel Suarez

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Philadelphia’s Mo’ne Davis knows hoops, too

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Veteran NBA ref Bavetta retires after 39 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Raiders still waiting for Hayden to get healthy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

As Durant steps back, US team is moving forward

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Kluwe, Vikings reach settlement to avert lawsuit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Islanders announce sale of minority stake of club

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

Ballmer steps down from Microsoft board

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Competition heats up for Tesla’s gigafactory

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B7

Peanut, almond butter recalled for salmonella risk

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8, 1 Comment

 
McDonald’s to sell packaged coffee nationally

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Consumer prices edge up 0.1 percent in July

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Stocks rise as US home construction rebounds

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

US home construction jumps 15.7 percent in July

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8, 1 Comment

 
.

Obituaries

June Canaris-Heath

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A4

 
Richard Ray Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Horace James Sam

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Joseph ‘Joey’ Kenneth Meyers

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Defrances Jean Freeman-Jefferson

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Eddie Lee Staten

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5