Kayla Dolberg is only 23, but she has some advice for those who may be going through a rough time. She encourages people not to be stubborn about accepting help and to consider listening to suggestions from others — including their parents.

Kayla grew up in Marin County and Point Richmond, dividing time between her mother’s and father’s homes, and after high school she headed to college at Northern Arizona State University. Within a year it was clear that college wasn’t a good fit for her, so Kayla came back to the Bay Area and spent a year becoming a certified massage therapist. Before she could try out her new skills in the job market, a health crisis landed her in the hospital several times. Then the pandemic hit, making it impossible to find work as a massage therapist.

Once things calmed down enough for Kayla to look around and think again about her life path, she had to face the fact that she had accumulated a considerable amount of credit card debt. Between her medical bills and being out of work during the pandemic, a little debt after college had mushroomed to the point that Kayla despaired of ever getting out from under it.

That’s when Kayla’s parents encouraged her to come to Hebrew Free Loan. Kayla had heard of us from a friend who received an interest-free debt consolidation loan, but she found it hard to ask for help. She finally applied, and now wonders why she waited so long. Kayla told us how liberating it has been to receive Hebrew Free Loan’s support, how it has freed her to focus again on what she really wants and where she’s going with her life.

“I can’t describe how relieved I was to be approved for a debt consolidation loan and later a general needs loan from Hebrew Free Loan, both entirely interest-free. It felt better than Hanukkah and my birthday combined. Before that, I literally thought I’d be in debt the rest of my life. It’s a mitzvah to know I’ll be fully paid off and financially independent in just a few years.”

Less than a year after Kayla got our loan to pay off her credit card debt, her beloved 2001 Subaru Outback — aka Sue the Subaru — hit 21 years and 277,544 miles. The car needed expensive repairs, and she knew the time had come to replace it. Kayla had managed to put aside some savings of her own by this time, which she combined with a $7,500 grant from California’s Clean Air Assistance Program and our interest-free general needs loan to buy a 2019 Honda Insight hybrid.

Kayla now has a job as a veterinarian assistant that she loves, and is considering going back to college to become a veterinary technician. She also hopes to eventually develop a massage therapy practice. For now, Kayla is living at home to save money and is thrilled to have a reliable vehicle with great gas mileage to commute to her job. She feels like she understands a lot more about managing her expenses and living within her income than she ever did before, and she gives credit to Hebrew Free Loan and the guidance she received from her loan officer for much of her new financial savvy.

Her positive experience with Hebrew Free Loan made Kayla want to get more involved with the Jewish community, and she’s joined her father at a small Orthodox congregation. Kayla is excited to explore the variety of ways to connect Jewishly, and she’s grateful to feel so supported by her community.

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