From welfare recipient to business owner
From welfare recipient to business owner
Name: Kelli Gilzow
Age: 29
Hometown: Wales, Maine

My ex-husband and I had moved out of state. Things within the relationship became rocky so I moved home with the children.

We had to stay at a shelter. That's when I was able to sign up for Section 8 housing [vouchers]. I had Temporary Aid for Needy Families.

I was starting from nothing. I had maybe $700 for a family of three to survive on, plus of course food stamps. That was it.

In the past, I taught step classes. I picked up a couple of classes at the local gym. I worked for one hour and made $25. After picking up six or seven classes a week, I could see the money was there.

So with my degree, the group fitness classes I was doing, and with a little bit of savings that I had from my income tax return, I thought I could do it full-time. I opened SPRQ Studio, which specializes in group fitness, in May 2010.

I'm off of assistance from Section 8 and no longer have TANF coming in. We still do receive some food stamps but I'm at the tail end of it. I still receive MaineCare medical insurance. To qualify for self-employment insurance, the cost is very, very expensive.

I make enough money to pay my bills ... I don't qualify for assistance at this point.

The goal is to get off of government assistance. Let someone utilize it that does need it.



By Tami Luhby @CNNMoney - Last updated March 23 2012: 11:32 AM ET

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