From press release:
United Way of Transylvania County (UWTC) and Western Carolina Community Action (WCCA) are joint recipients of the 2014 Financial Literacy Community Partners Award. The award, presented Friday, May 9, at the annual Financial Literacy Awards Luncheon by OnTrack Financial Education & Counseling, recognizes the work of the Transylvania County collaborative “Families and Money.”
“’Families and Money’ is a collaborative program which helps low-income families and those living in poverty….the multi-faceted services include group education, credit reports/reviews, and confidential, individual financial appointments, empowering people to learn and take action…” explains Celeste Collins, Executive Director of OnTrack WNC.
‘Families and Money’ began when UWTC Executive Director Steve Pulliam sent out a 2012 request for project proposals that would “harness the synergistic energy of agencies working together to achieve a common goal.”
In response to that request for proposals, OnTrack WNC and WCCA strengthened their working relationship and developed ‘Families and Money’ to address UWTC’s Financial Stability Focus Area guidelines.
In the ‘Families and Money’ collaborative, OnTrack WNC provides financial education and counseling components, WCCA provides the local venue, and UWTC provides support in the form of funding and other resources.
A non-profit based in Asheville, OnTrack has been active in western North Carolina for over 40 years. Their programs focus on financial education, empowerment, stability and growth. Traveling to the OnTrack offices in Asheville can be challenging for Transylvanians who want to use their services.
“Because WCCA has positive, ongoing connections with their program participants, and the financial classes/counseling are offered on-site at WCCA, many of the barriers to participation are overcome,” adds Collins.
‘Families and Money” also includes a student component. Kindergarten students have been the primary recipients of educational material thus far, but plans for the 2014-15 school year include age-appropriate educational programs at county middle and high schools.
“This significant initiative across grades and schools is the most comprehensive effort that we’ve been involved with in western NC. It would not be possible without Sheila [Galloway] and WCCA’s credibility and local connections, and of course, the collaborative vision and program funding from the United Way of Transylvania County,” Collins says.
UWTC has three goals for achieving positive community outcomes: increasing residents’ financial stability, raising the county’s high school graduation rate, and improving health care access and healthy behaviors.
At the present time, UWTC funds programs that strengthen families by helping prevent teen pregnancy, homelessness and neglect; and by providing housing, hot meals, adult day care, family counseling, after-school programs, health care access, free transportation, youth athletic programs, financial counseling and youth conflict resolution training.