#MyFreedomDebtStory: The Story, the Contest, and the Winners

#MyFreedomDebtStory: The Story, the Contest, and the Winners

Tanya Peterson / VP, Brand and Communications

January 19, 2021

#MyFreedomDebtStory: The Story, the Contest, and the Winners

Although many people are saying “good riddance!” to 2020, here at Freedom there were some bright spots in a tumultuous year. For many recent graduates of the Freedom Debt Relief (FDR) program, 2020 was the year that they paid off their enrolled debt and moved toward a brighter financial future.

As VP of Brand at Freedom, I hear many inspiring stories from clients whose lives have been positively impacted by our debt relief program. I thought it was time to share our clients’ stories more broadly. We recently invited Freedom Debt Relief graduates to submit videos about their experiences in the FDR program, and five lucky winners won $5,000 each, to help them toward their next financial goal.

The Contest

The goal of the #MyFreedomDebtStory video contest was to hear real stories from actual clients who have recently graduated from the Freedom Debt Relief program. We invited qualified clients to submit their video and confirmed that each submission was from a real client.

Each qualifying video was evaluated by our panel of judges using a specific set of criteria and an objective point system. We looked for:

  • How well the client told their story, including their experience of at least three specific aspects of the program

  • The genuine feeling and tone of the video

  • Video production and quality

We were blown away with the amazing stories we received! In fact, we had so many wonderful submissions that we couldn’t stop with just five winners, and we decided to award an honorable mention prize of $1,000 each for five additional submissions.

Without further ado, you can watch our winners’ video here, and read more about their stories below.


These Freedom Debt Relief graduates were chosen for the authenticity of their videos, the power of their stories, and how well they described their personal experiences in the FDR program.*

David F.

David F. – “Freedom Debt Relief was the right choice for me.”

A design and production manager in Lancaster PA, David was struggling with $45,000 in debt and just wasn’t making enough money to pay his bills. When he turned to FDR, he found we consolidated his debt payments into one monthly deposit and explained everything clearly. “They genuinely just wanted to help me, and that’s what I needed, I needed somebody that was gonna have my back.”

Ariel C.

Ariel C. – “Go for it!”

A teacher from Tampa FL, Ariel enrolled about $20,000 in debt. Her minimum payments were almost $1,000 a month, and by enrolling in the FDR program her monthly program account payment became significantly less. “I was also able to learn how to live without a credit card, which was huge for me.”

Oscar T.

Oscar T. – “This is a very proud moment for me.”

“We all sometimes get to the stage where we just need a little help. And the help never stops during the entire four years,” says Oscar, an architect from New York City. He recently graduated from his four-year FDR program and felt that he was set up from the beginning with the tools he needed to handle the challenge of resolving his debt.

Amanda S.

Amanda S. – “You guys saved my mental health.”

A 21-year-old care manager for children experiencing crisis and trauma, Amanda was caught up in her own financial crisis when she discovered the FDR program 3 years ago. She says she was just in “a bad mental state” as a result of her debt. But the help she got from FDR reassured her. “Whenever I was worried about something or confused, there would be an agent there to help me… I had creditors harassing me and I felt like you guys were my therapists as well as my advisors. That made everything better.”

Paul Q.

Paul Q. – “It’s changed our life.”

Paul works on a bison ranch in New Mexico, and ran into financial difficulties a few years ago. Medical bills and other debt piled up, and his income couldn’t keep up. He graduated in October 2020. “As tough a year as it’s been with COVID, this has been one of the biggest blessings in our life. Freedom Debt Relief has been absolutely helpful every step of the way.”

Honorable Mentions

We couldn’t help but recognize these moving client stories as well…

Geralene S.

Geralene S. ­­– “I can live the rest of my life with the burden off of my shoulders.”

At age 17, Geralene was diagnosed with a health condition that caused her to incur large medical debts in her twenties. She enrolled $40,000 in the Freedom Debt Relief program, and removing that burden has made it possible to pursue her dream. “Now I’m able to work for myself as a children’s book author, which is something I’ve always wanted to do, and I never thought it was possible. Thank you Freedom Financial!”

Ozzy S.

Osvaldo (Ozzy) S. – “It helped me and it can help you.”

Osvaldo is an NYC transit bus operator living on Staten Island, New York, and came to Freedom Debt Relief thinking that bankruptcy was his only option for handling his debt. He could only afford minimum payments on his credit cards, and that was getting him nowhere. In the FDR program, not only did he pay off his debt, he did it early. “The best thing… aside from settling my debt, was my savings account growing. I was able to accelerate my graduation date.”

Jamie G.

Jamie G. – “I feel more confident about building my future.”

A freelancer from Hanover, Michigan, Jamie didn’t always have consistent income when she first started freelancing and used credit cards to get by. At first, she was nervous about the impact on her credit score, but her score was already low due to the amount of debt she had, so she enrolled almost $24,000 in debt. Twenty-seven months later, she’s happy with the results. “Since my graduation I’ve seen my credit score improve. Now, in my 30’s, I feel more confident about building my future and knowing that I’m facing all that debt free.”

Amanda A.

Amanda (Mandy) A. – “They were my partner 100% of the way.”

Mandy is a nurse from Cincinnati, Ohio who enrolled $30,000 and graduated in October 2020 after three years in the FDR program. She reports that her credit score went up after the program, but more importantly, she got out of the cycle of unsustainable debt and late fees. “FDR has helped me reset my ideas on finances. I am much more stable now with how I deal with things financially.”

Keiara G.

Keiara G. – “It saved my life.”

Now an administrative coordinator for the city of Flint, Michigan, Keiara celebrated her graduation from the FDR program in October 2020. But years earlier, she suffered from postpartum depression and unemployment, and that dark period of her life left her deeply in debt. She stumbled upon Freedom Debt Relief online and it was the lifeline she needed. “I had over $10,000 in debt and so to be able to come to a place where I’m free from that and I’m able to move on with my life happy, I feel a release that I’ve never felt before.”

Will your story be next?

Can you relate to where these winners started out, burdened by debt? If so, you’re definitely not alone; and we’re here to help. No matter what your situation, we’ll listen to you and treat you with respect, empathy, and understanding.

When you’re ready to put your debt behind you, Freedom is here, doing what we do best. We hope you’ll be the one sharing the next #MyFreedomDebtStory.

*Disclaimer: The stories told here came from actual graduates of the FDR program and represent their own experiences with Freedom Debt Relief. The graduate’s endorsement is a paid testimonial. Individual results are not typical and will vary.

Tanya Peterson / VP, Brand and Communications

Tanya Peterson is VP of Brand and Communications at Freedom Financial Network, where she leads brand strategy, consumer insights, and strategic communications for Freedom and its suite of solutions to help everyday Americans manage their debt and move their finances forward. She has held a variety of consumer marketing roles in brand, product marketing, and market research. Before joining Freedom, she has helped develop and evolve well-known brands including BabyCenter, Second Life, and Ancestry.