GET HELP

Family Empowerment: Making Things Add Up for Families

Questions? Contact Scott Cooper at 816.931.0027 or ScottCooper@mlmkc.org.

Tania Taylor deserves to be proud. So does Marguerita Gesaman. The single parents have learned that even seemingly small purchases—like candy for a four-year-old daughter—can add up.

“I’m doing better with my budget,” Tania said. “I’m paying attention to what I’m spending on things.”

Tania and Marguerita are among approximately 60 parents who are involved in MLM’s first-year Family Empowerment program. With classes like the personal finance philosophy of David Ramsey, the program is working with parents of Kansas City middle school children to attack the causes of poverty and improve family stability.

Starla Brennan, MLM Operations Director, noted Marguerita needed transportation badly and was thrilled to see a car advertised for $88 down and $88 a month. “Before Dave Ramsey, she would have picked up the phone and signed on the dotted line,” Starla noted. “Now, the first thing she thought of is, ‘You can’t pay off a car for $88 a month!’” She called and learned that, within the fine print, the car actually required $2,000 down.

MLM volunteers like Rex Garrelts and Paul Drown make a lot of this possible. Paul, a retired banker with 33 years’ experience, works on applying Dave Ramsey’s lessons in an “implementation” class. “It’s not just theory,” he said, “but it’s not easy to implement. It takes practice and understanding the details.”

The effort is succeeding. Besides learning to question car prices or forego candy for a child, the parents are also finding work and stable housing. Marguerita, in fact, missed a recent class in order to start a new job. “They’re really succeeding,” Starla explained. “You can see it.”

“I’m doing better with my budget,” Tania said. “I’m paying attention to what I’m spending on things.”

FAMILY EMPOWERMENT