South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

South Sider takes hold of My Money, My Life

 

Micaela Lindsey (left) takes a break from assisting Emily Keebler at Neighborhood Housing Services. Micaela is the “poster child” for the NHS's South Side office, completing My Money, My Life and putting what she learned in the free financial literacy program into practice.

She's 21, confident and armed with newfound financial knowledge. South Side's Micaela Lindsey is the new “poster child” of My Money, My Life, the free financial literacy program founded by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh in 2004 for the benefit of at-risk young adults in Allegheny County.

Working as a part-time cashier at Family Dollar and fresh from employment skills training at JobCorps, Micaela wastes no time listing her new personal goals: working part-time in the morning; serving in the afternoon as a staff assistant to Emily Keebler, My Money, My Life administrator at Neighborhood Housing Services Inc.'s (NHS) South Side office; and socking away at least $20 of every paycheck to build a more secure future.

There seems to be no stopping the ambitious South Sider, who enrolled in the financial literacy course in 2005 after reading a handout about the program. “The flyer just catches your eye: ‘Get paid while learning.' Who can pass that up?” asks Micaela, who confesses to not paying attention in class at first but admitting, “I needed to learn this stuff and it's free!”

From that tentative beginning, the 2005 graduate of South Vo-Tech High School caught financial fever, carefully managing the initial $100 deposit she received from ESB Bank when she graduated from the program a little over two years ago. “I see myself budgeting and managing my money better now,” Micaela says. “I plan on opening another account and not touching it, leaving that as my savings account.”

Reflecting on her initial six-week course, she remembers that “the biggest eye opener for me was how much people get their heads beat in by going to a rent-a-center or quick cash place.”

Enrolling in the advanced class of My Money, My Life that got under way in the spring of 2006, Micaela graduated and gained another $150 for her ESB bank account, valuable money she has applied toward a washer and dryer for her apartment. Filled with enthusiasm, she was recruited by Ms. Keebler to lead one of the advanced classes, inspiring other young adults who also had a lot to learn about managing money.

Micaela, who remains passionate about working with youth, sees financial literacy as essential. “Youth are our future,” she states emphatically. “If you don't get it into their brains, what do you have left? I've been at the bus stops passing around flyers.”

“Micaela Lindsey is one of the real success stories of our program,” says Emily Keebler, My Money, My Life program administrator at NHS. “She is perhaps our best ambassador among people her age. She's off to a great start in life, and we know she'll exceed her own expectations.”

Administered by NHS, My Money, My Life expects to reach at least 1,000 young adults by the end of 2009.

For more information on My Money, My Life or to sign up for a class, call NHS at 412-281-9986.

 

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