What people are saying about The Whatcom Dream…

“I just want to let everyone know that I took The Whatcom Dream financial literacy classes back in 2005. I used what I learned there to clean up my credit and buy my first home in March of 2009. The value of this educational opportunity is immeasurable. Thank you Whatcom Dream!” 

-Eric Olson, Ferndale, WA

   “I am a 34 yr. old woman raising two great kids in Ferndale WA. My background includes being raised in a single parent, low-income household that depended heavily on the welfare system. Alcoholism & domestic violence were present in my family of origin. I have experienced divorce, bankruptcy, and single parenthood, and have suffered from bouts of clinical depression since childhood.

Despite these obstacles, I now find myself a third-yr. university student on my way to acquiring a Bachelor of Arts degree from Western. As I develop myself intellectually, I find that other areas of my life need development as well. One of the most important ways in which I am learning and growing is in the area of my personal finances. This is due to my recent participation in the Whatcom Dream. The Whatcom Dream has taught me many practical things about money, such as how to reduce debt, how to keep track and reduce my expenses, and how to avoid predatory creditors. But the most valuable tool I have gained is insight as to why I have certain behaviors when it comes to money. Like others, my values and beliefs about money were formed in early childhood. Unfortunately, some of what I learned wasn’t necessarily helpful or true. I have worked hard to unlearn some of these lessons and replace them with ones that lead to positive results.

   The Whatcom Dream has supported and encouraged me as I continue to develop my financial and life-management skills. I am grateful and appreciative for the Whatcom Dream’s influence on my life.”

– D.B., Whatcom Dream Graduate


I just wanted to take a minute to say, “Thank you.” I have taken this class during my incarceration very seriously and as a result feel that I have gained a lot of knowledge and tools that will be of great benefit to me and my family in the future. I was…very motivated by the goals and values lessons…I have found renewed faith and a drive to be more efficient and successful in life.

So often in life we take things for granted or forget to be grateful for what we have. I want you to know (the) time here…was not in vain. Your generous donation of time and knowledge has made my time here a life improvement rather than time wasted.”

– W.B., Whatcom County jail class participant


“The Whatcom Dream is a wonderful organization in our community. Trudy and her team teach important lessons in Financial Literacy, including budgeting and financial management, that are inspiring attendees to become independent and self-sufficient members of our community. In addition, they bring awareness and understanding of the cycle of poverty in families to local institutions that help those affected. I experienced a Whatcom Dream series two years ago with a relative whom I hoped the class would benefit. As a side bonus, I gained some new tools and a deeper understanding of others!”

-Nancy P. Graduate


“Many years ago (!) when TWD was meeting at the Roosevelt Park Apartments I joined the group for a 12-week course.  There were about 15 people from all parts of the county, and it was a privilege to get to know them.  My intention was to learn and help and encourage in any way I could.  As it turned out I was greatly impressed with the curriculum and those who led and taught, and impressed with the eager responses of the people looking for help.  The focus on core values as the foundation for financial decisions was very good and I still have my own visual example hanging in my kitchen.  (CORE VALUES > RELATIONSHIPS > RESPONSIBILITIES > DELIGHTS   I love it!)  We have been supporters of TWD ever since.”

-Betsy P., Classroom Volunteer and Donor


“Over the past several years I have had the privilege of volunteering as an instructor at Whatcom Dream.  My session deals with how to keep auto expenses from spiraling out of control as a part of learning financial literacy.  I have always been impressed with the commitment and comradely clearly evident in each group of students.  They listen well, ask great questions and have a focus on making changes that will give them success in the budgeting process.  The value Whatcom Dream brings to the community is very significant in that they prepare group after group of participants to be productive and self-sustaining members of our community rather than being a burden.  Whatcom Dream does this on a tiny budget and is a fantastic example of a non-profit can literally change the world, one student at a time.”

-Keith Cox, Keith Cox Autobahn, Bellingham, WA


“When I think of the work that Trudy and The Whatcom Dream do, one word comes to my mind – AWESOME.  Through their training, care and encouragement, of people they are literally changing lives for generations to come.  They help people find purpose, direction and a way out of generational poverty…” 

-Pastor Jeff Geise, Northlake Church, Bellingham, WA


“The Whatcom Dream is vital to each of us. Committed staff and volunteers meet weekly with classes up to 30 men and women of all ages to inspire and train financially challenged people with free teaching and support. The director and several graduates presented their work to my church over a year ago. As a Christian, I know that everything that I have is given by God, and I know that God has a passion for the lost and disadvantaged. We are directed to work hard that we may share with those in need. We can each contribute to this dream for Whatcom County.

Weekly classes teach lessons on saving and spending; understanding g bank accounts; repairing and using credit; debt elimination; financial options for home ownership and planning for future hopes and dreams.

They begin by having each person identify the things they value most in life and spending habits are evaluated and goals become meaningful. We have so many promising residents in our county who are stuck in in disadvantage compared to most of us. People who hope to someday own a home and who are working hard to advance their families, local churches and businesses can contribute tremendously to our community by supporting The Whatcom Dream.”

–D.A., Classroom Volunteer


“It was very motivating to look at my core values. I like the fact that it is getting me to look inside at what makes me tick. Someone is not telling me from up on a pedestal what I “should” believe/feel. It ties well into responsibility. (The Whatcom Dream)…forces one to look inside for answers.”

– J.B. 2001 Whatcom Dream graduate 


“Last night I attended the Whatcom Dream Class, which is a financial education program for anyone and everyone.  To be frank, I attended for numerous reasons:

  1. Now that G is 18 child support has stopped which means the budget is tighter
  2. To support a friend who is attending and wanted accountability
  3. Originally I wanted G to attend because finances are an area that he is weak in and needs to grow before  heading off to college.  But he is was working last night, so I decided to attend.

Keeping in mind that I facilitated a group for over 7 years and that in the “way long past”, I volunteered to help with [another] Budgeting Program.  Which gives me an excuse to have have high standards whenever I participate in a group, especially in regards to the facilitator.

I came away totally impressed with the program – both with the person facilitating it and with the information which will be covered and the approached it will take.

One of the things I never liked about [another] Budget Program was what I perceived as the “Big Brother” approach.  It was almost like the only people that came into that program was “lifelong victims” who enjoy playing the part.  Instead of the  Big Brother approach, this program comes along side of you, supplies the tools, help you to learn how to use the tools.

Trudy the facilitator is authentic and you can tell she her heart is in it.  This isn’t rote for her, it is a passion.  She is authentic and accepting.

One of things she said that struck a chord with me, is that people in financial straits lose their ability [to] Dream, which allows people to set goals and achieve them.  They seem to go from one financial emergency to the next and it wears them out.  Whatcom Dream was named so that people dream and work on making their dreams a reality.

I will keep you updated on my thoughts on the program and perhaps you would be willing to attend one of the future classes.”

– L.L., 2013 class participant