Last fall, Talia did a seminar on “Teaching Your Kids about Money” at a local Head Start meeting. Landra was in attendance, eager to learn and to share with the other parents in the class. “Originally, I attended the presentation because I thought it would be cool to learn tips on how to educate my son about money. Little did I know it, I enjoyed the presentation so much that I wanted to learn more. I also wanted to be in an environment where talking about money wasn’t taboo,” says Landra. She followed up with Talia and came in for a coaching appointment to look at her budget and credit. From there she was hooked: from client, to volunteer, to mentor, Landra fills many roles at Innovative Changes.
At Landra’s coaching appointment Talia told her of the Women’s Borrower Support group that Innovative Changes (IC$) was hosting. IC$ convened a group of women to learn from each other, problem solve and hold each other accountable to meeting financial and other life goals. Landra signed up on the spot and reflects, “It was truly a great experience. Often times people feel as if they are the only ones with questions, concerns or the desire to do better, but all it took was one person to truly open up. What I took from the Women’s group was how it’s never too early to talk to your kids about money. If you put things into practice early eventually things will sink in.”
A big piece that drew Landra to the Women’s Group was the opportunity to become a mentor for other women. Eager to pass on her lessons learned and help people work through tough situations, Landra joined a cohort of Tax Time Educators to provide financial education to CASH Oregon customers. Landra committed several hours a week to facilitating workshops on budgeting, credit and savings in the CASH waiting room and meeting with people one on one to discuss best practices in financial management. Landra says, “As a tax time educator I got the opportunity to talk about many of the things we discussed in the women’s group. I like that because it’s a reminder and the information sticks with me.”
At some points it was challenging. People in the CASH Oregon waiting room weren’t always expecting to participate in financial education while waiting to get their taxes done, so it took a lot of skill and coaxing on Landra’s part to engage people. Landra reports, “The biggest challenge is getting people to talk. For example, during the credit presentation many times I wondered, ‘is anybody listening?’ But the moment tax payers knew I had info on how to dispute inaccuracies on the credit report, hands flew up. Then one by one they would approach me and began talking about their issues.”
During the Women’s Group, Landra often led inspiring discussions urging the group to “shake things up;” break outside their comfort zone and try new things. Of her advice to others on reaching financial goals she says, “Let go and prepare for change. You’re not alone and you have something to contribute to others.” Landra’s future goals include: tracking her spending and keeping receipts and “continue to use words like ‘budget’ with my son.”
Innovative Changes is lucky to have Landra as a committed resource for our programs. We look forward to continue working with her in the coming years!