Wellness Blog

"Wellness is not the absence of illness but the presence of purpose in life; satisfying work and play, joyful relationships, a healthy body and environment— and happiness"

15 graduate from Stairways' financial education class

Monday, January 18, 2016

Another group of individuals are well on their way to financial stability, having recently graduated from Stairways Behavioral Health’s Financial Education and Savings Program.

The Financial Education and Savings Program (FESP) is a 12-week course designed to promote responsible use of money and informed financial decisions.

Students are incentivized with the offer of dollar-for-dollar matches to those who graduate, identify a savings goal and reach $500 in savings through participation in the program. Funds from Stairways as well as past grants from United Way of Erie County, GECAC, Erie Community Foundation, Corry Community Foundation and PNC Bank have matched a total of $55,938 saved by clients.

In December, a class of 15 completed the course and is currently saving in hopes of reaching their goal of matching funds.

FESP is offered in the spring and fall during two-hour weekly sessions in a classroom format.

Class topics include understanding the meaning of a budget, income sources, document management, banking and credit. All students have a case manager to monitor how they manage personal finances.

Stairways established FESP to help mentally ill, mostly low-income individuals gain control over such an important part of their lives.

With savings and matching funds thanks to grants, students have been able to pay for home improvements, medical expenses, utilities, auto and home purchases, continuing education, rent and trips among many other things.

Since the class’ inception in 2007, 190 students have graduated from the program, 75 percent of whom were able to collect a combined $111,876 from savings and matches.

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