The sharing of ideas and tips flowed easily around the U-shaped tables, like old friends sitting around a campfire.
The topic was saving money, one of several financial wellness areas covered during “Wellness Wednesdays” at the SAY Detroit Family Health Clinic. But instead of bristling at the topic, the women and mothers attending the monthly support group embraced it. After all, the theme of the session was “Be Your Own Boss’’ — and who doesn’t want to save money? Here’s some of what they shared:
“I put one dollar a day away for each of my grand children,’’ said one participant. “If I ever go into it, it means I overspent someplace else and have to correct it.’’
“To me, saving my change (coins) is a powerful tool,’’ said another.
“I double up on my payments.’’
“Don’t ever borrow more than you need.’’
“I don’t eat out anymore.’’
“Instead of spending $30 at a dinner, I look for a place where I can spend $7.’’
“I shop online.’’
“I go to discount stores and use coupons.’’
Led by Maia Campbell, the SAY Clinic’s Community Health Worker/Community Outreach Coordinator, Wellness Wednesdays is a female-focused group that was formed to help women connect and grow. The program began last month. Before participants broke for lunch, Campbell instigated a lively discussion when she asked, “If you had credit hanging off a cliff or money hanging off a cliff, which would you let go of?’’
Another highlight of the session was guest speaker Matt Hetherwick, director of individual tax programs at the nonprofit Accounting Aid Society. He facilitated a session on the new Child Tax Credit and the outreach he’s been doing around the city to inform Detroiters who qualify to file returns.
Millions of households across the U.S. have begun getting monthly cash payments for six months thanks to an expanded tax credit that was part of the massive COVID-19 rescue package President Joe Biden signed in mid-March.
“We know that people still don’t know about it, that’s why I did the town hall with the Mayor (Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan), to help people understand what it’s all about,’’ Hetherwick said. “It’s a tax credit, not a source of income. People ask, ‘Will my food stamps be affected by this?’ No. ‘Will my social security or disability income be affected?’ The answer is, ‘No.’
“The idea of this is to get this to our most vulnerable population, taking care of our kids.’’
The next Wellness Wednesdays program is scheduled for Aug. 25 at the SAY Play Center at Lipke Park. The theme of the session is, “Back to School: Parenting tips to get you through the year.’’ Registration is limited and required for all sessions. Call 313-758-6100 to sign up.