ST. ALBANS — At 49, Melissa climbed her way up from a mother on welfare to a hardworking grandmother at FoodScience Corporation. Through Working Bridges, a program of United Way of Northwestern Vermont, she was able to take a financial workshop, increase her credit score by nearly 40 points, and slowly climb her way out of debt.

Gail, 60, lost her life long friend and dog of 14 years. Suffering from anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, the animal was not just her friend but her needed companion. But through Working Bridges and her employer Little One’s University, she was able given the resources needed to find another dog. With a name that matches his purpose, Superhero now helps Gail wake up everyday and succeed at her job.

Shawna is a 22-year-old mother to be. The past few months left her and her husband facing disaster after disaster. First dealing with a broken pipe in their home, then a tree flying into their bedroom window during an October windstorm, followed by a broken refrigerator. She needed assistance, and Working Bridges, through her employer Rhino Foods, helped her apply for a loan to fix their home.

All three of these women made it to where they are because of key relationships, resources and resilience. This was exactly what Women United brought to the forefront Thursday evening at their panelist event.

Dozens of women showed up at 14th Star Brewing, to hear the stories of these three women, showcased in a film put together by Women United, a program through United Way of Northwest Vermont.

Michell Langlais, Women United Council Co-Chair, opened up the evening explaining a bit about what Women United is and how they are supporting the Working Bridges collaborative, which brings resources into the workplace that help low-income employees with such challenges as housing and transportation.

“In bold yet simple terms, we’re a powerhouse of diverse, caring women working to create change,” Langlais told the crowd, “and as a group we direct our effort and energy towards helping women to achieve financial stability.”

To read more about Women United and the Working Bridges program, pick up a copy of Thursday’s Messenger or subscribe to our digital edition.