Cabarrus County launches app to help families meet goals

CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. — From jobs to child care, and even putting food on the table, it can be overwhelming taking care of life’s responsibilities when you don’t know where to start -- but a new app for Cabarrus County residents aims to help.

“Oh, my credit score went up! Yay, me!” said April, a mother of three, as she checked out her “Life Map” with a Cabarrus County social worker.

They’re using the Aspire app. It’s a pilot project between Cabarrus County and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the goal is to support families who need help.

“A lot of families might find themselves in the situation and feel overwhelmed and not sure where to start,” said Beth Lowder with the UNC School of Social Work’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab. “So when they use this tool, it helps them to identify good starting points.”

The app contains a “road map” of sorts, with a variety of tasks and accomplishments that turn from red to green when they’re completed. They include things like fixing your credit score, improving income opportunities, and health care.

April moved to Cabarrus County a few months ago and needed help finding a home for herself and her three girls.

“It was very stressful, especially to a new city, a new environment for me and the kids,” she told Channel 9′s Hannah Goetz.

So she got in touch with Angelik King, a social worker with the county, and she took the Aspire app’s 55-question survey. That then helped her create a map of her goals.

“I like having a visual of what I have to do, and in order,” April said. “So that actually kind of made me see things a little bit easier to focus on one thing instead of trying to focus on ten things with three kids.”

In just a few months, April has found a home and has connected with resources that helped her turn the red areas on the app into greens.

“I’m very proud not only because I can say, hey, I’ll work with her and she does these things. I can actually see how it impacted her children,” Angelik told Goetz.

April says she now feels empowered and she can set an example for her daughters.

“I’m their role model, so what they see me do is what they’re going to grow up [doing,]” April said. “I definitely do feel more power that they see their mother actually doing things on their own. Like, hey, mom did this, I can definitely do this.”

The county says the Aspire app has already helped 100 families. Eventually, it will help the county to target specific aid, like geo mapping the areas with the most food insecurity.

If you live in Cabarrus County and are interested in the app, you can find it here.

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Hannah Goetz

Hannah Goetz, wsoctv.com

Hannah is a reporter for WSOC-TV.