Trouble with debt and credit and a lack of financial know-how can be a significant obstacle for people working to escape poverty or dangerous living situations. Here are several resources the United Way of the Ozarks has identified to get help or to volunteer to teach others to better understand their finances.
Access the Allstate Foundation Moving Ahead Curriculum
This educational resource is designed to help domestic violence survivors achieve financial independence and rebuild their lives. The curriculum covers important financial topics including budgeting, managing debt and improving credit. It has been proven to help survivors move from short-term safety to long-term security.
Contact: U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233
Attend a Making Sense of Money course through Community Partnership of the Ozarks
CPO offers a series of free Making Sense of Money programs open to the public.
The Basic Budgeting Series is a free four-week basic budgeting program. Participants find ways to save money, create an easy-to-follow budget and meet one-on-one with a local banker. After completing the four-week class, participants can open a free savings account and have the potential to earn a $100 match for meeting their savings goal.
Ask the Experts is designed to address specific topics that participants want to learn more about. They are facilitated by professionals with expertise in that field. Class topics include understanding loans, how to use credit wisely, how to reduce your debt, rebuilding your credit and investments 101.
The Graduate Club is exclusive to graduates of the first class and provides monthly educational encouragement through guest speakers and peer mentoring.
Get help managing debt from Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Ozarks
Consumer Credit Counseling of Springfield, Missouri, Inc. (CCCS) is a local, not-for-profit organization providing credit counseling to southwest Missourians. Policies and procedures are established by a local board of directors, and it is fully-accredited as a credit counseling agency with certified financial professionals.
More info: https://CCCSofTheOzarks.org/
Access peer-to-peer support through FreeFrom
FreeFrom offers free online resources and peer-to-peer financial support with suggested curriculum that focuses on shifting one’s mindset from scarcity to abundance. The organization helps participants envision the ability to build wealth and financial security.
More info: https://www.FreeFrom.org/Events/
Start early with Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland
Helping girls enter the business and entrepreneurial workforce is beneficial for girls and the world. Beginning as early as kindergarten, girls can begin strengthening their knowledge of money management. The Girls Scouts of the Missouri Heartland offers programs for girls K-12. There are a number of financial literacy related badges in both Life Skills and Entrepreneurship program pillars.
More info: https://www.GirlScoutsMOHeartland.org/
Develop Tools for Life — or help teach them — through Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity provides partner families with far more than just a roof over their heads. The Tools for Life classes set homeowners up for success, with courses covering first-time home buying, mortgages, credit cards and other topics.
Habitat partners with amazing experts who care about the community and donate their time to teach classes. Volunteer opportunities are available to help with this educational program.
Contact: 417-829-4001 (to volunteer, use Ext. 114)
Get tax preparation help or volunteer through the VITA Program
The Internal Revenue Service’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) provides income tax preparation for those who cannot afford tax preparation fees. Trained volunteers prepare basic tax returns for taxpayers with limited incomes of $56,844 or less, older adults and taxpayers who speak English as a second language (ESL). These are free clinics and one can file taxes electronically and receive a return in less than 10 days.
Volunteer opportunities are available as well, which include free IRS-certified preparer training.