Success Story

Braudilia MendesFor Braudilia Mendes, what she didn’t realize was that she needed to take control of her credit before she could position herself well to make her dream of starting a daycare a reality.

The kernels of ideas for starting a business, buying a house, or organizing a budget are planted long before a person decides he or she needs to take action. 

I needed to start to budget my money differently, Braudilia says.

Thanks to LEDC’s focus on providing financial education as a key piece of its comprehensive approach to community-based economic development, Braudilia says she feels confident challenging and resolving debt that appears in her credit report.

By working with LEDC to break down concepts like credit and budgeting into manageable steps identified in a personalized financial action plan, she now has a new relationship with her once mysterious credit score.

I check my reports for outstanding debt, says Braudilia, whose score has increased by 50 points since coming to LEDC. When using my credit card, I use it to pay for my phone, to buy gas, and supplies. I use the credit card for the very basics.

Since 2011, LEDC has worked with key partners including Neighborworks America, Citi, the National Council of La Raza, and the Aspen Institute to integrate financial capability training across its programs. By combining financial education and coaching with tools that allow participants to chart their progress, LEDC staff is helping Latinos and other DC-area residents move forward on the road to financial independence. 

With a new perspective on her finances, Braudilia is now just one month away from opening up a daycare, Curious Minds or Mentes Curiosas, in the Petworth neighborhood of the District. Braudilia hopes that her children will follow in her example and know the importance of credit.

What I have realized is that in this country what opens the doors is your credit, Braudilia says.