Grant Brings Money School to Rural Community

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by Lucy Medvec

Catholic Charities of North Louisiana (CCNLA) recently took its financial education class, The Money School, on the road to Ringgold and it was all made possible by a grant from Jonesboro State Bank. The Pledge 10 Grant Program is Jonesboro State Bank’s pledge to invest 10% of their profits in Jackson Parish and the surrounding areas (Bienville, Winn and southern Lincoln parishes) in order to create a better community.

Through the Pledge 10 Grant, CCNLA employees Joe Bulger and Carl Piehl recently held The Money School for citizens in Ringgold (Bienville Parish) in order to teach them financial literacy and provide assistance with their rent and utility bills. CCNLA was first approached by David Saucier, retired educator and a parishioner of Blessed Sacrament Church in Ringgold. After observing a Money School class in Shreveport, Saucier wanted to bring its message to the people of Ringgold because he felt that it could improve their lives. CCNLA worked with Saucier and a dedicated group of volunteers to present two weeks of Money School classes and then meet with clients to assess their financial situations. Volunteers worked alongside CCNLA case managers to interview clients, provide financial coaching and then help determine which clients would receive financial assistance.

Pledge 10 Director Christie Weeks was able to observe one of The Money School sessions in Ringgold and was extremely pleased with the results.

“Bringing The Money School to a rural community like Ringgold is important because many people have limited access to transportation and cannot travel to one of the Catholic Charities offices,” said Weeks. “The clients seemed to really enjoy the class and it was a great atmosphere.” Weeks was also pleased to see local students who were studying for their General Educational Development (GED) sit in on The Money School. “We can all learn something from The Money School and it is never too early to start.”

Volunteers David Feming, Martha Grigg, Steve Young and Alonzo Alford.

Funds from Catholic Charities’ Pledge 10 Grant were used to provide emergency financial assistance towards the clients’ rent and utility bills, with a small percentage used for travel expenses and outreach supplies. With the success of the Ringgold Money School, Catholic Charities will continue to reach out to other rural communities throughout the diocese to bring The Money School to their residents. As long as there are people in need, CCNLA’s Director of Financial Stability, Carl Piehl, is up for the trip.

“There are many people in our area who need help and need someone to listen,” said Piehl. “Through the lessons we provide through The Money School, we can continue to reach those who are willing to change their financial situations and improve their lives.”

To attend a Money School class (as a participant or observer), please visit www.ccnla.org/money-school for days and times. For more information about Jonesboro State Bank’s pledge to the community, visit www.jonesborostatebank.com/pledge10

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