New class teaching steps to get ahead financially

ECHO of Brandon helping families
Posted at 5:25 PM, May 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-03 18:01:04-04

Melody Fuller works full time but says paying the bills each month..can still be pretty painful.   

"Right now, what I need is a little more stability," said Fuller.

That's why she's enrolled in several programs through the Emergency Care Help Organization, or ECHO, in Brandon.

"We live in a culture that says you have to pull yourself up by your boot straps.  But that's not always feasible, and everyone needs a little bit of help," said Fuller.

ECHO's been expanding its services working to get more people like Melody, career training and better jobs.
But they've noticed, even with decent jobs, a lot of people like melody still struggle.

"We meet the crisis, but now it's time to bridge them to a sustainable life," said Sharmaine Burr with ECHO of Brandon.

That's why they've got a new class called "Getting Ahead."  It's teaching Melody how to finance her future.

"Now when I go to spend my money on something, I go, okay, I want this, but if I get this then I can't do these other things that I want.  And I end up putting a lot more into savings that way," said Fuller.

After graduating from "Getting Ahead," she's planning to enroll in college.

"I see myself--maybe not a millionaire, but knowing how to manage my finances and how to present myself to my best advantage," Fuller said.

"Getting Ahead" is an intensive 16-week class.  Participants get some perks including a free meal and childcare while classes meet each Wednesday and a gas card to get them home afterward.

RELATED: Dave Ramsey explains why his get out of debt plan has worked for millions

"Getting them off the governmental system --systematic poverty--and living the holistic life, how it was intended for us to live," said Burr.

ECHO hopes the first "Getting Ahead" grads will inspire others by helping  lead the next classes starting this summer.

"You have to love who you are and accept what you have, but know that you can change it," said Burr.

Enrollment for the next session of "Getting Ahead" classes is open now.  To learn more, contact Sharmaine Burr at or (813) 685-0935 ext. 8003.