She presented this information during the March meeting of the Cleveland Interagency Council earlier this week.
Gilbert highlighted the credit union’s efforts to help area residents in need of financial and budgeting assistance in an effort to reduce the area’s bankruptcy rates.
“Last year over 26 percent of people were paying their bills late, and Tennessee led the nation in people who filed for bankruptcy,” she explained.
The credit union has launched initiatives to assist those seeking help with their finances. The flagship of these initiatives is a 12-week series of financial literacy classes.
According to Gilbert, the classes will be broken down into two six-week periods. The first section revolves around banking, budgeting, the psychology of money and credit. The second grouping deals with credit scores and reports, insurance and taxes.
“Our main goal of the financial literacy classes is to educate and reduce the fears that relate to financial accountability and build confidence about saving, budgeting and money management. And, also to assist individuals and families to further develop their knowledge and skills in these areas and a positive attitude towards money management,” she said.
In addition to the classes the credit union also offers one-on-one financial counseling. These sessions allow individuals to receive personalized help with subjects like budgeting and debt reduction and management.
Through these one-on-one meetings clients are able to assess their debts and possibly consolidate their money owed via micro and consolidation loans.
“We allow the clients to come in with receipts and bills, and we take that information and use it to find a budgeting system that fit that person’s life,” said Gilbert.
She stressed to the council the importance of those seeking help from these programs needing to have a strong desire to change their lifestyle, and also to inform interested parties that these changes will not occur overnight.
Classes will take place every Thursday, starting March 17, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the campus of Lee University, in the education building. Child care will be provided to those who register. One-on-one sessions are available upon appointment at the credit union.
Those interested in more information can contact Gilbert at 559-1112.
The Interagency Council also was made aware that Cleveland City Schools Kindergarten Registration will take place May 6 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the parent’s local zoned school.
For registration the child’s birth certificate, Social Security card, proof of a recent physical and proof of residency will be needed. However, the child is not required to be present for the registration.
Kaye Smith, the representative for the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Office, informed the council of an upcoming “Dining with Diabetes” school at the Bradley County Extension Building.
The class will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. April 12, 19, 26 and May 10, and is intended for people with diabetes, caretakers and other interested individuals.
Each class will teach those attending about different food types and how they affect diabetes. The sessions include a variety of food samples. Those interested or seeking information are asked to call 423-728-7001.