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Success Stories

Meet Karen

Feb.01, 2019

Karen Perham-Lippman

A Champion for ALICE

Meet Karen – A Champion for ALICE.

There are families in our community who despite working hard, live paycheck to paycheck and are unable to afford life’s most basic necessities such as housing, food, child care, transportation and healthcare.

This demographic is called ALICE, a United Way-coined acronym that stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed and represents the four in 10 families in our region struggling to make ends meet.

ALICE lives in every town and city in Connecticut. ALICE can be anyone. ALICE was Karen.

From the outside, Karen had it all – a career, a home, a marriage, three young children, but as Karen describes “it was a very untenable situation,” and ultimately divorce was the catalyst for Karen and her sons becoming an ALICE family.

Karen was faced with starting over on one income. She found herself struggling to make ends meet, making difficult choices between essentials like health care, child care and food.

Karen called United Way 2-1-1, which provides information and referral to health and human services. The call specialist on the other end of the phone connected Karen with services that allowed her to stabilize her family’s situation and get on a path to financial security.

“United Way services gave my family a second chance, which transformed our lives,” says Karen.

Karen and her family are now financially secure and paying it forward.

“Having been an ALICE family that really was able to start over again through a holistic support system, and services received through United Way, I personally understand where you’ve been has no bearing on where you can still go,” says Karen. “When we collectively support United Way through our donations, and through our volunteerism and through our advocacy, we are putting empathy back into our community that helps change the circumstances for ALICE.”