The new television series Opportunity Knock$ will air Thursday, October 27 on the PBS Passport streaming service and throughout the fall and winter on PBS stations nationwide.
With 60% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, many people are unaware of the local and state resources available to help them get out of debt and take control of their finances. Opportunity Knock$ matches each family with one of three nationally recognized Opportunity Coaches, guiding them to results that can be replicated by viewers using the unique Opportunity Finder to locate these resources in their own cities .
It’s reality TV used for good, and it has the power to break down systemic barriers so everyone can build a better life, according to white people.
The series also focuses on the mental and emotional elements of debt as much as the practical problems and solutions.
White history begins before ice, floods, hurricanes and the pandemic.
“In 2009, I got pregnant with twins,” said Tiffany White. Both were born with a very serious medical condition. After seven months in the hospital, we lost Christopher.
The loss of income, the medical stay and the trip, but especially the loss of their child created a chasm of grief and burden.
“We lost our home, our cars and our jobs,” Tiffany said. “Before that time, we were shrewd in the way we managed our finances. After the lockdown, we spent a lot of time trying to get our credit back. We were getting there. We were a wee bit early when the pandemic and hurricanes impacted everyone’s lives in southwest Louisiana.
Charles and Tiffany incurred the hotel accommodation costs. As church pastors, they couldn’t help but attend to the needs of their congregation.
“We used our savings and our credit cards,” Tiffany said.
At one point they looked at each other and both knew what the other was thinking. Life could not continue in the same way. They talked to each other about what they would do differently if they just had the chance to start over. Then they talked to God about starting over.
“A month later, I saw the casting information for Opportunity Knock$ on a social media site,” Tiffany said. “Ronaldo Hardy shared the post, and I knew him — he’s a pastor at Love Alive Church in Baton Rouge — and I thought if he shared it, it must be real…maybe.”
Ronaldo Hardy is a community development powerhouse, national speaker, pastor and host of Opportunity Knock$. It was real.
“All you had to do was enter your email address and send Opportunity Knock$ some basic information to consider,” Tiffany said.
More information was needed and Tiffany decided to drop it. However, the message reappeared and she decided, “I’m going to go.”
She heard about the producers of the show.
She hadn’t told her husband about it, and had even planned to take the next step, the solo Zoom interview. But the interviewer asked if Charles was home. He was, and he was in the kitchen cooking when she first threw everything at him.
“The biggest part of the struggle for me was losing our son,” Charles said. “We named him, we named all of our kids when we were in college, dating. My wife and I had been married for eight years and we patiently waited for our first child for three and a half years. After we lost Christopher it was hard to ask for help, not that I didn’t think there were resources. I was in such a state of mind that I didn’t want to seek help of any kind.
Because of who white people are and what they believe, they have exposed vulnerabilities in the past.
“As pastors, we can use these vulnerabilities to make connections and maybe help others,” Charles said.
But it was on national television. It was not an easy decision to make.
Viewers of Southwest Louisiana Opportunity Knock$ will be able to relate to the “maintenance mode” many fell into after the hurricanes. Like others, white people accepted government help but realized they didn’t want to make it a habit.
“The food stamps were great,” Tiffany said. “They helped when it mattered most, but we decided not to depend on government help.”
Tiffany said Opportunity Knock$ shed the most light on how auto finance works.
“There is always a better rate,” his financial coach told him. “Keep watching.”
“For me, the biggest takeaway was an encore,” Charles said. “You are equipped for the dream you have. You just have to be disciplined enough to go there, to stay focused.
“It was also a reminder that we are setting the stage today for our children’s financial legacy,” Tiffany said.
Viewers will have access to the same tool, the Opportunity Finder, a research tool featured in Opportunity Knock$ used to solve problems and create financial freedom.