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Free picnic kicks off new financial empowerment center in Taylor
Posted 6/19/2014
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 TAYLOR — A free early Father’s Day picnic Friday was used to celebrate the start of a new financial empowerment counseling center by the Community Development Association of Michigan.

Taylor was one of three communities chosen for a free financial center by the association, which hosted the kickoff picnic in Phoenix Park off Eureka Road near Beech Daly.

Professional financial counselors will provide guidance for residents on managing and paying down debt, opening safe and affordable bank accounts, building strong credit and creating a plan  for the future.

Taylor will provide counseling through a partnership with the nonprofit Information Center.

The financial empowerment center received a $25,000 grant and technical assistance from CDAM to implement the model in their communities for 2014.

John Carter, executive director of the Taylor Housing Commission, said the  picnic was the second annual one for the residents of the McKinley Properties apartment villages of Taylor, including the Courtyards, The Parks, The Ponds and The Springs.

Carter added that it also provided a chance to welcome the  new empowerment center and showcase the villages’ after-school program.

“There is no income qualifications required to take part in the financial empowerment center,” Carter said, adding that anyone interested can find it or

Event volunteer Ryan Bettinger, pastor of North Line Baptist Church,  said that when he and his church members were asked to come out and help “it was a no-brainer.”

“As a church, so many times we’re leading our own events for the things we’re doing, but it was neat today to come out and serve our city,” Bettigner said. “We had a slew of volunteers here today, and once the crowd showed up, the rest was history. We got to talk to people and find out what they are going through and to serve.”





Matt Thisse, director of the after-school program for the villages of Taylor, spoke about having fun and building character for the elementary school, junior high and high school- age children.

“It will be education and recreational,” he said. “We will be providing tutoring and mentoring and (what it means) to take care of the community, and we’ll let them have some fun, too.”

For more information, residents of the villages can contact their local property managers.

The grants program is part of the Michigan Communities for Financial Empowerment network, supported by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

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