Most would agree that the odds weren’t in Dan and Krista Green’s favor.
In 2004, Dan had just left the classrooms at Northeastern High School for the last time. At just 17 years old and a high school junior, he was leaving school to pursue full-time work to support his girlfriend, Krista, and infant son.
It would undoubtedly be a tough road ahead, but Dan was determined to beat the odds.
“My wife and I moved out when we were 18 years old, and have been on our own ever since,” Dan said. “The thing I always told my wife, ‘We are not going to be a stereotype.’”
Initially, Dan struggled to find a job with a livable wage, while Krista cared for their young son.
Years later, Dan and Krista were working hard to keep their family afloat with odd jobs, but the need for reliable childcare for their son was becoming increasingly important to find and keep sustainable employment.
When the Green’s learned about Community Progress Council’s Head Start program for 3- and 4-year-olds, little did they realize it would be a giant stepping stone toward economic self-sufficiency.
Dan volunteered in his son’s classroom as often as he could, and his involvement led to an opportunity to become an assistant teacher with the Head Start program. Soon thereafter, CPC’s Head Start program paid for Dan to obtain his teaching certificate with Penn State-York, and he continued as a teacher for the following five years. Krista remained active on Head Start’s Policy Council, including as state representative for CPC.
Throughout their early years, Dan and Krista’s dream to find a home for their growing family was eluding the young couple. Dan recalls a time when the trailer park they were living in was being sold, and they were told they had three months to move out. They had no place to go and were given very little for their investment.
“We drove around not knowing what to do,” said Dan. One day, the family pulled up to a stop sign and looked over and saw a rental sign for an apartment – a place that would bridge the gap to future possibilities.
A big break came later when a family member – Dan’s uncle, Christopher Grothe – offered them a home to live in at a very affordable cost. They lived in that house for nine years before building a dream to own their own home.
The Greens worked through Community Progress Council’s Housing Counseling program and attended a Homebuyer Education Workshop. Dan and Krista eventually turned to the financial lender who spoke during the day-long class, and secured a grant and a 0-percent interest loan from the Pennsylvania Housing and Finance Agency (PHFA) to help them purchase their new house.
Today, Dan makes ink at Greydon, a local company that manufactures printing machines for labeling and packaging. Krista works part time at a local café. Their family of five enjoys their quaint blue colonial home in Felton, PA – just a few miles outside of York.
Both were part of Community Progress Council’s inaugural “Getting Ahead in a Just-Getting-By World” course as part of the agency’s new Self-Sufficiency Program. The 16-week “conversation” helps low-income individuals identify resources and how to overcome the obstacles to getting out of poverty.
“I was intrigued to find that the other people in the class, as different as we all are, understand the financial and emotional burdens faced when dealing with a life on the low end of the (economic) scale,” Dan said during his graduation from the course. “To get a glimpse into what life is like for people of a different culture and background has opened me up to realize how similar we all are.”
~ Dan Green