Love & Wisdom

Letter to Seattle: Bank Statement

YWCA opens door to financial career

By Tameka Siplin September 1, 2023

Tameka Siplin and her son

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2023 issue of Seattle magazine.

This is a letter from Tameka Siplin, a program graduate at YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish, the region’s oldest and largest nonprofit organization focused on the needs of women; providing services and advocacy to support stable homes and economic advancement; reduce violence and improve health; and promote racial equity and social justice.

Dear YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish,

Thank you for giving people who are usually overlooked a chance. All my life, I’ve always been really driven. I’ve always known that anything I put my mind to, I could do. But I’ve never had that support or anybody telling me I could do it. So, I’ve always been on my own.

A coworker had heard about YWCA’s BankWork$ program and told me, “You know, this might be a good fit for you.” At the time, I had recently split up with my ex-husband and I was living with a friend. I was pretty much homeless, trying to get back up on my feet. I didn’t know where to go or where to turn, and she just thought maybe this would be a good fit.

YWCA’s BankWork$ program prepares low-income job seekers for banking positions as a first step on the career ladder in the financial services industry. My cohort and I started in January 2022 and graduated in March. A lot of us came from similar backgrounds, which allowed us to bond and understand each other. I was simply amazed at the diversity of the students — how many had immigrated, and how many languages we all spoke. It was amazing.

YWCA’s instructors were so generous with their time. They were so insightful, so knowledgeable. They wanted to be there, they wanted to teach us, and they wanted us to do well and succeed. And that really matters, especially for people like me who don’t have that support system, to have someone in their corner the entire time.

Today I’m a banker at KeyBank. The BankWork$ program got me from making zero dollars and gave me a career. It’s allowed me to provide for my son in a way that not only is necessary but in a way that he deserves. It’s allowed me to see myself in a different light, it’s allowed me to respect myself and not feel like a burden, and I can say that I’m proud of myself and mean it. YWCA took a person who had no idea where she was going and gave me a direction. I applied myself, I took it seriously, and now I have a career.

The gift of education is one of the most powerful things you can possess. Thank you, YWCA Seattle, | King | Snohomish and BankWork$. You’re giving people opportunity, education, and the ability to make a choice for themselves. You’re literally changing lives.

Sincerely,

Tameka Siplin

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