Archive for Sunday, June 8, 2014

Volunteer teaches money management skills to help people become self sufficient

June 8, 2014


Motorcycle Mary Roars in to Provide Free Financial Training

Motorcycle Mary, a motivational financial humorist, will be riding into town June 21, to offer free money management tips and strategies as part of the United Way of Douglas County’s Day of Action. Everyone is invited to join the fun at Mary’s funny and fast-moving seminar, which will be chock full of strategies for reducing debt, increasing spending power and planning for a more prosperous future. The seminar will be at Crown Automotive, 33rd and Iowa streets, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. The event is free, but please register at

About this story

Micki Chestnut is communications director for the United Way of Douglas County, which provides occasional features spotlighting local volunteers and charities supported by the United Way.

Fran Pack knows that if you want to make folks squirm in their chairs or their eyes glaze over, just launch into a discussion about financial literacy.

But through her work as a volunteer case manager at Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas, she also knows that when people who are trying to survive on very limited incomes don’t have some basic money management skills, life gets very, very difficult. There’s not enough money for food or rent. They can’t get to work because they can’t afford to repair their car. They struggle to pay the light bill.

That’s why Pack is passionate about empowering the people in crisis whom she serves as a United Way of Douglas County AmeriCorps member with the skills they need to become financially self sufficient. When her 12-month term with AmeriCorps ends in August, Pack will have served 1,700 hours at Catholic Charities, doing case management, referring people for services and helping them plan for the future.

Pack honed in on helping people increase their financial literacy because she has seen what a huge impact good money management skills can have on someone’s life.

“I want to help people avoid a crisis, so we sit down and look at their budgets. Is there another option on their cell phone plan? Then they can put that money toward something else, like paying off their utility bill or making a car repair so they can get to work,” she said. “We try to stabilize their basic needs so they can invest in their future.”

This isn’t the career path Pack pictured when she was a high school student in Wichita. She wanted to be a nurse. All that changed when she came to freshman orientation at the Kansas University in 2009 and an advisor told her about social work. She was hooked.

“My parents served on lots of boards for nonprofits, and I was always getting dragged along to volunteer at those places, and it sparked my interest in service work,” Pack said. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social welfare, and added a year of AmeriCorps service on top of her graduate studies.

“If anyone is interested in service as a career, the AmeriCorps program is a great way to learn how nonprofits work and get to know the community as well,” she said.

The United Way of Douglas County is currently recruiting AmeriCorps members to provide direct service in the areas of education, health and self sufficiency during the 2014-2015 term, which begins in August. For more information, contact Sophia Archuleta, AmeriCorps administrator for the United Way, at


Lawrence Morgan 4 years ago

I think what you are doing is incredibly important.


Leslie Swearingen 4 years ago

Yes, thank you Fran, it is not that easy for any of us to sit down and make out a budget and then keep to it. There are so many things and the small items can get overlooked but they add up. Try actually keeping a list of every single thing you buy, it will be an eye opener.

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