“It’s changed my beliefs about money,” Veronica Edmonds says of the Financial Literacy seminar she completed at My Sister’s Place Women’s Center. The four-session classes are made available to participants of the resource center for women through Families that Work, a job-readiness program for expectant mothers.  A $15,000 grant from Citi underwrites the cost of the classes.

Three months after the birth of her daughter, Nava, Edmonds returned to the program to continue her studies.  Edmonds’ enthusiasm for what she learned is evident from her perfect attendance to the application of what she’s learned.

“I’ve contacted creditors to work out a more manageable payment schedule and opened savings and checking accounts for the first time,” she says. “I also learned what my credit rating is and what steps I can take to improve it.”

The final class was a private consultation to create an individualized budget.

“I was asked to look at how I spend my money and to see what percentage goes towards bills and random purchases,” says the mother of three. “I opened an electronic bill paying plan to avoid the threat of identity theft that I was told can happen when you carry around bills that have your social security number and other important information,” she says.

Other measures that Edmonds has taken to improve her life include completing her classes for the GED, seeking a job in custodial services, and planning to pursue a degree in nursing.

When asked what keeps her motivated, Edmonds answer came without hesitation: “I want to be my children’s role model and for them to have a better life.”

“These classes are self esteem boosters for the women who begin to see that there’s an end in sight to being dependent,” says Family That Work Case Management Supervisor Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau. “They are provided with tools to manage their money and their lives in a responsible way.”

At the end of each class, Sr. Nadeau says that she has also noted a physical change. “They go into the class one way and come out with their backs a bit straighter.”