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Don’t forget to help

I met the sweetest lady today. She reminded me of how important it is to help.

This morning I was a substitute presenter for a homebuyer assistance program that is operated through the Oklahoma City Housing Authority. The program helps people who have low incomes to be able to purchase their first home.

Our agency – CCCS of Central Oklahoma – presents education and provides personalized budget and credit counseling to the participants in the program.

During this morning’s education class it happens that only one person was present.

But she was amazing.

She was an older woman who was of African American descent who has held on to the dream of someday owning her own home. She has no car and lives on SSI disability since becoming disabled due to a stroke a few years back.

I typically spend so much time trying to think of creative ways to inspire people who have income and debt to manage their money better and do more with it and change for the better that her simple situation caught me off guard.

She had never had credit or any debt in her life until she had begun building her credit using a $300 credit card. For a year and a half she has been charging about $100 on it then paying it all the way down, then charging it up again. She never trusted banks, so she hasn’t opened a savings account yet. I talked to her about what to expect from talking to a bank about opening a savings account. She has never known how to talk to a personal banker, but is sweetly trying to learn how so she can know what it is like to become a part of the credit system so she can have a house.

Our conversation was cut short because her bus arrived. I gave her my number and I really hope she calls. I honestly don’t know if she will get her house, but I just want to encourage her. She’s really pushing the frontiers for herself so that even at her age she can keep learning about building and managing her own prosperity.

It made me think about the things in my own life I sometimes whine about and made me remember how important it is to empower people with knowledge that helps them because they need it – not even because I need to give it.

I am thankful that I work for a small community-based credit counseling agency that helps people. We will always do our best to do right by you Oklahoma.

Cristy Cash is the Director of Counseling and a Senior Certified Consumer Credit and Housing Counselor at CCCS of Central Oklahoma. She lives in Edmond, Oklahoma with her Hus band Matt, young son Jackson and her dog Bear.

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