Counseling helps people plan futures

PARKERSBURG – Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Mid-Ohio Valley hopes to make several of its offerings better and more affordable thanks to the United Way.

“This is our first year being a partner with the United Way,” said John Jackson, executive director of the non-profit CCCS. “With the United Way funding, we will be able to reduce the cost of some of our programs and make improvements to others.”

The organization has received $5,000 in funding from the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley. Jackson said the organization also is receiving some matching funds from other groups and is targeting the money toward three CCCS programs.

The first is the CCCS Home Buyers Workshops, which help people prepare for home ownership and walk them through the process of purchasing a home. Jackson said the United Way funding has helped CCCS further reduce the cost of the seminars, which are held monthly.

“With the United Way funding, we will be able to keep the cost to a minimum,” he said.

The funding also will allow CCCS to purchase new and better presentation materials for its Rapid Response program, which allows counselors to speak with employees when a major business or industry shuts down.

Jackson said CCCS also will upgrade its facilities for its young adult and student education programs.

Shelene Shrewsbury, a counselor with CCCS, said often people come to the organization when they are facing a major financial crisis, but other times they simply need a bit of help in gaining control of their financial lives.

“We’re more like a coach through the process,” Shrewsbury said. “It helps them to get another set of eyes on their finances and to help them look at things differently, maybe see areas where they can save that they just hadn’t considered before. Sometimes they just need that outside person looking in.”

Susan Oliver first came to CCCS for help in 2006 when she took part in the organization’s debt management program, and then again a year ago for the easy pay program. Oliver said she needed help in getting her finances under control and sticking to a budget, something she has worked closely with Shrewsbury on during the past year.

“It’s very effective and I highly recommend it,” Oliver said. “It is comforting to know there is an end to those financial woes.”

For more information on these and other CCCS programs, visit www.wvcccs.com/. The organization, located at 2715 Murdoch Ave. in Parkersburg, also can be reached at 304-485-3141.