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Program helps Kansas Citians build savings accounts, become financially empowered

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Posted at 8:20 PM, Apr 09, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A program in Kansas City is helping people save more money as they work to become financially empowered.

KSHB 41 reporter Megan Abundis went to south Kansas City to find out about a program making a real difference.

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“I’m a single mother of four, four kids; three boys and a girl,” said Kymesha Swinton.

We met Kymesha at the Community Assistance Council (CAC) in south Kansas City.

“Before coming here, I was in a dark spot," she said. "I had lost a job, transportation issues, everything."

Swinton’s goals have changed since she began working with the CAC.

“To save was the biggest one, to save,” she said. “It’s hard to save having kids, having bills, and every day, like something comes up instantly.”

With the help of her case manager, Marshelle Lyons, she's made saving money happen through CAC’s Empower Program.

Lyons says the Empower program is a yearlong commitment focused on building stability around money and wellness with the help of financial advisers and therapists.

Swinton’s goal through CAC's program was to save $1,000.

She met that goal.

“All of my clients don’t have an emergency fund," Lyons said "She is the first one of my clients that has an emergency fund. I am so proud of her."

Swinton said the fund is hard to maintain now, but will keep pushing.

“It took a lot of stress off of me to know that I got it saved in case something does come up.”

She's now focused on finishing the rest of the program, which includes credit repair.

“I already drove the school bus. I drove the metro bus. I got my CDL," Swinton said. "Now I’m focusing on going back to school. I’m enrolled in school, pilot school to be exact. I’m going to pilot school. I know if I really, really need it I can go get it."

Lyons knows managing money doesn’t come naturally.

“My mom always said, 'Put back a nickel or two, put money back for a rainy day,'” Lyons said. “But to sit down and balance the checkbook, we didn’t get the details. A lot of the education piece is not there for a lot of people.”

The Empower program is a holistic program to empower her clients with mental, physical, and other kinds of help they need.

“This is to relieve them, I should say, of anxiety, depression, and stress,” Lyons said. “Now Kymesha, she doesn’t have to stress and say, 'I can’t take them. I don’t have the money.' The emergency money is there."

Swinton is now teaching her kids about money.

“I wasn’t taught at all about saving money," Swinton said. "Granted, my kids now, they still got birthday money from last year and they won’t spend it."

Lyons said the program is designed so whatever your goal is or wherever there is a need you need help with, they are going to make that goal happen for you.

“I'm most definitely empowered," Swinton said. "I feel really good. Right now, that’s an understatement."

https://www.cackc.org/
https://www.cackc.org/empower