goodChoice is a community partnership between St. James’s, Goodwill Industries and Virginia Credit Union (VACU) which promotes financial education to help individuals identify and break the cycle of debt, thus allowing them to become more financially stable. What started as a pilot program in 2010 is still going strong today and has evolved into a component part of Goodwill’s Financial Stability and Family Strengthening program.
The goodChoice program consists of financial education classes as well as one-on-one coaching. Once participants have completed three financial classes taught by VACU, they are partnered with a St. James’s mentor for two to three coaching sessions. The basic goals of these coaching sessions are to discuss financial goals, develop a budget and create an action plan. Upon completion of the program, a one-time incentive grant is awarded to each participant. The grant is intended to encourage participants to develop saving skills.
Over the past five years, it has become clear that the mentors provided by St. James’s along the way have been of the utmost importance to the program’s success. As with so many ministries, it is the personal connection and one-on-one attention that helps clients stick with the program and enjoy a positive outcome from the experience.
We currently have a waiting list of clients seeking mentors, so we are in need of more St. James’s Doers who are willing to serve in this important ministry. Mentoring does not require professional financial experience or credentials; just a listening ear and a willingness to share some common-sense financial know-how go a long way. Mentors coordinate with clients on a case-by-case basis to set up coaching sessions, so there is a great deal of flexibility with scheduling.
“The goodChoice ministry is really powerful because it involves such a personal connection,” says St. James’s parishioner and goodChoice Lay Leader Katie Morris. “It requires trust and quite a leap of faith for participants to open up about their often dire financial situations. Once they’ve done that, there is an opportunity for a profound positive change. I feel privileged to be a part of this transformative process in participants’ lives.”
If you are interested in learning more about this ministry, please contact Katie Morris at 804.615.2161 or email@example.com.