makingNEWS: A Quarterly Newsletter from
makingCHANGE - Summer 2012
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About makingCHANGE

makingCHANGE is dedicated to developing and delivering financial education programs that help individuals create their own financial success story.  We focus on teaching people the financial skills they need in a way that encourages lasting behavioral change.  Our online and in-person programs are offered in schools, human service agencies, and businesses.  Contact us at to learn more about empowering people to Control their money... and Change their life! 
Email | Phone | 443-718-9350

makingNEWS                                   Summer 2012


  Leadership Change at makingCHANGE

One of my fondest childhood memories was playing football in the backyard with my dad and the other kids on our block.  Button-hooks and square-ins were regular plays, but my favorite was always the post-pattern.

The post-pattern (for all those who did not learn this as an 8 year-old girl) allows the receiver to run out and catch the pass beyond the crowded huddle at the line of scrimmage with a head start toward the end zone.This was no Hail Mary.  It was a controlled play and I knew if I kept my eye on the ball and ran quickly, success would be within reach.

Fast-forward a few decades and so much has changed.  I have had the great honor of quarterbacking an amazing team at makingCHANGE for the past five years. Together we have served thousands with our online offerings, seminar and small group programs, and individual financial coaching.  We've launched amazing events, developed strong partnerships, and raised awareness around the need for financial education.

With this solid foundation in place, it's time to make the hand-off to a new leader.  My family will be relocating this summer and we are looking forward to all the opportunities on the horizon.  I'm delighted to announce that Mike Couch will be stepping in to lead makingCHANGE as Acting President.  Mike comes to us with great business acumen, experience working with families on their finances, and a passion for the mission of our

So, as I say a fond farewell to makingCHANGE, I'm confident that the next play in the book will be a post-pattern.  And, I am betting that with eyes on the ball and a quick step, continued success at makingCHANGE is ahead!



Betsy Welch, Financial Counselor and Wilson Saraj 

Three years ago Wilson Saraj found himself homeless and out of work due to a medical situation.  Wilson ended up at the Grassroots Shelter where he had a place to sleep, meals and assistance looking for work.  Grassroots contacted makingCHANGE to work with Saraj on his finances when he was offered a position that required financial stability.  makingCHANGE’s Lead Financial Educator, Betsy Welch, met with Saraj and quickly realized with an income, his debt could be paid off in a short time.  Betsy worked with Saraj contacting his creditors and teaching him how to negotiate a payment plan once he secured his job.  makingCHANGE worked with the potential employer on Saraj’s behalf, providing them a detailed budget showing Saraj could be financially stable upon hiring.  Saraj is now awaiting relocation information and final hiring agreement to start his new life.  When Wilson was asked what he felt about his experience with makingCHANGE he replied “makingCHANGE truly changed my life and was a blessing from God, I know that God answered my prayers when he sent me the makingCHANGE counselors.  

Celebrating Teach Children to Save Day
makingCHANGE kicked off our inaugural Kid’s Saving makesCENT$ Week on Tuesday, April 24th with representatives from five local financial institutions talking to elementary school students about the importance of adopting healthy saving and spending habits.  Throughout the week kids enjoyed a community scavenger hunt bringing families into participating Clarksville banks and businesses to learn interesting money facts;  Bubbles the Financial Literacy Clown visited Claret Hall in River Hill on Sunday, April 29th demonstrating the magic of money and sharing other fun tricks; and Walgreens, our poster contest sponsor, awarded first prize to Sriya Potluri, a fifth grader at Pointers Run Elementary School, for her entry illustrating Why Saving Money is Important.  In all, makingCHANGE helped nearly 500 families get the conversation started about good financial habits.  If you missed the event, visit our website for links to information about financial institutions offering special kid-friendly accounts and other resources to help you get conversations about money started with your family.  


Tips for Saving on Summer Travel 
Help!  I haven’t booked our family’s summer vacation yet.  Are there ways to save on travel, even last minute?
Definitely, the best way to save on travel is booking early.  But with summer here, there are still ways to save on your vacation. 
Airfare:  Compare flights to several nearby airports.  For that Disney trip, there are five airports in the region!  Also, remember it’s cheapest to fly on Saturday or mid-week.  Adjust your trip by a day to save.
Rental Cars:  Airport rental car locations tack on extra fees.  Save money booking at a non-airport location.  You’ll have to find transportation to get there, but the savings can be substantial.
Hotel: There are so many online sites that offer hotel deals.  Start online to get a basic quote (Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity).  Next, call hotels directly.  Ask them to match or beat the price.  Check online discounts codes, too. 
Hotwire and Priceline may offer the lowest prices, but be careful.  You will pay a hefty penalty to adjust plans.  But, if you can tolerate the risk, this may be the cheapest option.  Hotwire shows you a room rate, but won’t disclose the name or exact location until you buy.  Priceline allows you to bid on travel.  For bidding tips, check out:
Happy travels!



Thanks to our Kids Saving makesCENT$ Sponsors!

Event Sponsors:
Capital One Bank
Ruby Tuesday
River Hill Community Association

Activity Sponsors:                            
The Columbia Bank                              
Tower Federal Credit Union                  
River Hill Sunoco                                 
Giant Food      

Table Sponsors:
Chyten Education Services
Giant Food
Kid's Time Out
MetLife | Tom Monaco
The Columbia Bank
Tower Federal Credit Union
              In-Kind Sponsors:
77 kids                             Pudgie’s Pizza
Clarksville Flower Station   Roots Market
Giant Food                        Ruby Tuesday
JC Penney                         Sandy Spring Bank
Kendall’s Hardware            Subway
Ledo’s Pizza                      Time Saver Advantage           
Marbles                            Walgreens               
Pizza Hut                          Wendy’s


Kids enjoy an activity at the Saving makesCENT$ Event


makingCHANGE Partners with Howard County Public School System

On May 1st, an official signing took place to formalize a new partnership between makingCHANGE and the Howard County Public School System.  The partnership was created to help students and staff acquire the financial skills needed for life long financial wellness. Under the terms of the agreement, makingCHANGE will serve as an objective, vendor-independent resource of financial literacy information for teachers, staff, students and families.  makingCHANGE will offer financial literacy resources and workplace information sessions for HCPSS employees, engage volunteers and parents in the student learning process and offer internship opportunities to highly motivated and qualified high school students who wish to explore careers in the financial industry.

This past January, HCPSS Career, Research, and Development teachers and representatives of the Academy of Finance supported makingCHANGE's Y-Fi event, a youth finance simulation for middle and high school students.  Congratulations to our Y-Fi Essay Contest winner, Amritansh Rastogi, a ninth grader at Long Reach High School! Amritansh answered the following question "What do you think are the three most important factors for achieving your financial goals?" and entered his 400 word essay to win $150 sponsored by Young Money. Click here to read Amritansh's essay.

Pictured below from left, LaRee McCuan, Director, Education & Outreach, Junior Achievement of Central MD, David Burton, Principal, Long Reach High School, Amritansh Rastogi, Ellen Flynn Giles, Howard County Board of Education member, and Kari Staddon, Asst. Director Program Development & Outreach, makingCHANGE.



Saving makesCENT$ Workshop

makingCHANGE concluded the first Saving makesCENT$ workshop held at the Multi-Service Center in North Laurel on May 22. Participants reported saving $2,335 during the seven week course.   The pilot program, funded by a grant from the United Way, was offered to Howard County residents earning less than $50,000 annually. Group sessions and individual counseling helped participants take charge of their financial situation and build toward financial health.
Nine participants began the course by describing the financial challenges they wanted to address.  Several had suffered a reduction in income due to job loss or to divorce. Some were struggling with debt and others were unable to control spending. 
In the initial class participants learned the importance of creating a budget and identifying wants vs. needs. Participants created their own budgets as a tool to see where their money was going, and from there, to control expenditures.  A subsequent class covered suggestions for saving money, such as reducing unnecessary cable and cell phone use, combining trips to conserve gas, negotiating with creditors and service providers to cut interest and fees, and shopping with cash.  Other topics included banking, credit, insurance, home buying, and the basics of investing.
Response to the course was very positive.  The presentations and group discussions facilitated an exchange of information in a supportive environment, and participants were able to see concrete results.  One woman described the experience as a process of discovering that she really can make a difference in her financial situation.

Betsy Welsh and Wendy Samuel from makingCHANGE served as program facilitators, with a special appearance by Mike Couch.  Guest speakers were Candace Belen from PNC Bank, Phil Simmerer of Simmerer Insurance and Financial Services, and Beth Viscarra of ReMax Realty. 


Save The Date!

makingCHANGE will be participating in the
Southeast Horizon Council 
Family Health EXPO
September 29, 2012
10:00 am - 11:30 am
North Laurel Community Center

makingCHANGE Presents A
"LUNCH AND LEARN" to Support Financial Literacy
Keynote Speaker will be Karen Gibbs
October 26, 2012
11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Sheraton Hotel & Conference Center
Columbia, MD
Event Sponsorships Available

For more information:


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