Building a Better Financial Future

For many, finances can be a source of stress, worry, and woe, between paying down debt and keeping up with monthly bills. Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Mid-Ohio Valley aims to help local residents better understand their own finances so that they can confidently pay down debt and establish a strong foundation for themselves or their families.

To help residents gain this kind of valuable financial education earlier in life, CCCS of the MOV partnered with R.S.V.P. and the O'Neill Center to launch a Financial Education Program for children participating in the summer YMCA and Boys & Girls Club programs in 2017. This program was funded through the Marietta Community Foundation's first grant cycle last spring.

"Our challenge in working with the children was taking information that might not be relevant to them immediately and finding a way to present it that would help them build a solid financial foundation," said John Jackson, Executive Director of CCCS of the Mid-Ohio Valley. "All of our students had heard of Credit Karma so they actually had a very basic knowledge of credit scores - all we had to do was explain to them why a score is so important and how a person might increase (and decrease) their score."

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Throughout the program, John and his team also stressed wants vs. needs, as this is a lesson that can be valuable at any age and will lead to making better financial decisions as a young adult. Lastly, as many poor financial decisions are made out of desperation, they stressed the tremendous value of saving money and being prepared for emergencies.

Pleased with the success of its first year, John, Stacey and Lisa (of R.V.S.P.) have decided to continue the partnership in 2018. "Our initial presentations were collaborations with the youth summer programs throughout Marietta," John said. "We now have contacts information for additional R.S.V.P. directors in the area and we will be reaching out to them to gauge their interest in participating this summer as well."

John and his team believe there is an enormous opportunity to provide financial education within the local school systems. CCCS of the Mid-Ohio Valley hopes to fill the gap between what is currently being taught and what is important to young adults.

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"Most of the CCCS clients are not clients because they overspend or intentionally make poor financial decisions. Most of our clients have had something unexpected thrown at them - job loss, divorce, medical bills - that they were completely unprepared for and their financial hardship is a direct result of that curveball," John explained. "It is very important that we start teaching our children the value of being prepared for unexpected financial stress while also developing sound financial practices - avoiding impulse purchases, identifying wants vs needs, and incorporating and developing a family budget."

It is through donations to unrestricted funds that the Marietta Community Foundation was able to award this grant. The next grant cycle will close on April 1st, 2018. Donations to assist in funding grant applications, or any other local need, may me made to the Foundation by contacting Heather Allender at 740-373-3286 (or or by clicking the link below.