In Ohio, Year Two In Financial Ed Program In Spanish

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The Ohio Credit Union Foundation and three of its member credit unions are doing their part to "make life better'' for Central Ohio's growing Spanish-speaking population by offering personal finance classes.

The group started its second year as sponsors of the Latino Financial Literacy Program, which offers a four-series course on such topics as budgeting, financial goals and priorities, establishing and maintaining good credit, and financial products and services.

Students who complete the series receive graduation certificates. More than half of the 225 people who attended classes during the pilot program last year graduated, said Sue Helmreich, manager of outreach programs for the Ohio Credit Union League.

"Credit unions know that education will make life better for these new residents,'' she said, noting that some of the participants couldn't speak English, while others couldn't read or write in any language. "That certificate gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment. It also gives them confidence to walk into (a credit union) and know it's not such a scary process (as they might have thought).''

She said it was obvious during the classes that the participants were eager for knowledge.

" . . . The common bond is that they want to learn how to handle money in this country where they have come to make a better life for themselves and their families.''

The weekly two-hour classes are delivered in partnership with the Ohio State University Extension Office, with additional funds and in-kind support from various Columbus area businesses, churches and credit unions, including OhioHealth, Telhio and Western.

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