Every night, over 140 people stay in The Salvation Army of Greenville's emergency homeless shelters. The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary (SAWA) has made it their mission to give these men, women and children a sense of community. SAWA works with the shelter residents to provide stability and comfort through holiday meals, homemade blankets for the children and educational classes.
One SAWA member, Laura, volunteers to teach a monthly financial planning class to the women in the shelter. During the classes, Laura invites the residents to take notes and eat snacks provided by SAWA. Laura also encourages discussions about budgeting, saving and understanding money. Asking questions can only make financial planning classes more meaningful, she says
Laura also reassures residents who may have made poor financial decisions in the past. Everyone makes bad decisions with money, and it’s normal to feel ashamed after that, she tells the class. Start creating a better relationship with money by forgiving yourself and taking advice from others.
“Learn to do better the next time,” Laura says to the women at the April meeting. “But don’t beat yourself up over past mistakes.”
Near the end of the class, the residents begin trading stories with Laura about their very first experiences with money. Laura’s friendly, calming presence allows the residents to feel comfortable with her, and the stories quickly have the room laughing about stolen quarters and the high expectations of a single dollar.
Because of these monthly classes, the women in the shelter are able to take advantage of a free educational resource and find a place of community. The Salvation Army of Greenville is thankful to SAWA’s for planning these classes and to Laura for her willingness to give her time and talent!