Personal Budgeting

Tanzania: A Reminder On New Year Resolutions

More importantly, the first step in this direction is to prepare your monthly budget, which records all the sources of money one has and intended corresponding expenditures for the month. But remember, budgets are again like other New Years resolutions – often made, but rarely followed.

This happens because most of us have good intentions, but get frustrated easily when it comes to implementation. While failing to keep your New Years resolutions rarely has a major effect on your life, but failing to set up and maintain a monthly budget can.

Personal budgeting is so important that in absence of it, one would end up spending all the money, with no leftover for savings.

So revisit your New Year resolutions to ensure that you have set savings amp; investment as one of the resolutions and dont forget to accord it the top priority or the first rank. This is needed as we all know that it matters the most, when it comes to our life.

So go for it and implement, if not all than at least the first ranked resolution, which is nothing but savings amp; investment. Cheers!!!!

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Top cash tips for Ashfield jobseekers

Jobseekers in Ashfield are to be given advice on better money management at two special workshops, hosted by Nottinghamshire County Council Work Clubs.

Money advisors from Ashfield Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) will provide help with personal budgeting, tips on how to increase income and reduce outgoings and explain the impact of changes to the benefits system.

The event is being held at Kirkby Work Club, Kirkby Library, Ashfield Precinct (opposite Morrisons), on Friday 17 April, from 10am until 12 noon.

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Community First courts millennials … and other tales of innovation

Formed in 2013, the new department first met with Ignite, the local incubation lab of Adecco, to learn more about the ideation process and how it fits into innovation, especially in the banking industry.

The institution’s seven-member innovation team encompasses all areas of the credit union’s lines of business — from marketing to lending, mobile to mortgage payments — and strategizes how to better serve its members.

“We’re always trying to identify problems and pain points and see where we can make things easier,” said Jairo Lobusta, a member of the team.

As a result, the credit union has rolled out a number of new products and services, such as a mobile banking app that includes a personal budgeting function and new loan options, including a fast growth line of credit aimed at young professionals looking to build up credit quickly. That initiative alone has netted Community First 100 new members in the last two months alone, executives said.

Recent discussions in the innovation department around how to reach students at the University of North Florida, where the credit union has a branch, have led to a three-pronged targeted campaign.

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Louisianans lag in personal budgeting, study suggests

Louisianans lag in personal budgeting, study suggests

Cold-weather states are hot spots for better personal budgeting, according to results of a WalletHub study of 150 metro areas around the country.

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Need a helping hand? Don’t get sucked in

Its very common for people to have more than one payday loan, Lane says. Ive had whole families who have all got payday loans. They are all on Centrelink and they are all poor and they are just trapped in a debt cycle.

A report released by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) last month estimated that $400 million in payday loans were written last year, a rise of 125 per cent since 2008. Two-thirds of the files it reviewed showed that people were borrowing when they already had a loan; when they were in default for a loan or when they had loans duringthe last 90 days.

Nicola Howell, who researches consumer insolvency at the Queensland University of Technology, says the growth in payday lending is in part the result of a lack of alternatives. Banks for the most part wont lend small amounts of money, she says. Credit cards may not be available or people may have maxed out their credit cards.

She suggests government could be doing more to support no-interest loan schemes and to ensure the Centrelink advance system works for people who need it.

Payday loans are not the only product or service that can lead you deeper into financial difficulty if you are already struggling. Here are five others to be wary of and some alternatives.

RENT-TO-BUY ARRANGEMENTS Cant afford to buy a fridge or a TV outright? Companies such as Radio Rentals and Rent the Roo market rent-to-buy arrangements. They also promise peace of mind through responsible policies that assess their customers credit history and, in the case of Radio Rentals, aim to never over-commit you – its not in our interest, or yours. But the high cost of renting – interest rates can be 40 to 90 per cent — is often hidden by some of the less scrupulous providers.

Mooney says: Goods rental companies usually advertise a weekly repayment rate which may seem affordable, but what they dont tell you is that by the time the contract ends youll have paid about 300 per cent more than someone who bought the product outright.

Over three years, the customer will pay about $1800 for a $650 fridge. Contracts often include the option to buy the item for $1 after three years. However, the customer needs to contact the rent-to-buy company and pay the $1 separately, something that is easily overlooked, says Mooney.

The other reason that $1 buy option is there is purely to exploit a loophole in the National Credit Act, he says, adding that the contracts are deliberately designed to sidestep legislation governing small amount loans (loans of $2000 or less). Under that legislation, the provider has to disclose to the client upfront the value of the item and the total finance cost. Theres also a pricing cap so the financial service provider can only charge 20 per cent upfront plus 4 per cent of the original amount per month.

Sydneysider Norma Wannell has experienced the high cost of these arrangements first-hand. She worked in the community sector until 2009, when an accident forced her into early retirement and on to a disability pension. In November 2013 she signed a rent-to-buy contract on the spur of the moment to get a new vacuum cleaner. Recently she checked how much she needed to pay to buy the Dyson cleaner. The answer: $991.

My reaction was: Youre kidding, she says. Id already paid about $1500 on it. The alternative was she could continue making the $39 fortnightly payments for another 18 months and then buy it for a $1. By that time she would have paid about $3200.

I cant just give the items back because Ive paid too much now and Id be liable to pay the contract out anyway, she says.

The alternative: For Centrelink recipients there is a no-interest loan scheme (NILS) for essential items (see box). Wannell has used one in the past to buy a new fridge.

FUNERAL INSURANCEConsumer advocates warn funeral insurance is rarely good value. Gerard Brody, chief executive of the Consumer Action Law Centre, says payout figures are often low.

Its not like a savings account or an old life insurance policy that will pay out what you contribute to it, Brody says.

People may contribute $15,000 to $20,000 to a policy over the years, but their estate will only receive a payout of $5000 to $6000. Policies can also have stepped premiums, which means they get significantly higher as the policy-holder ages.

By the time youre 70 or 80 years old its actually a significant proportion of your income especially if youve gone on to the pension, says Brody. If people cant afford to keep up the premiums they lose everything theyve contributed.

The alternative: Lane says: The vast majority of people have access to some sort of funeral cost cover through their superannuation death benefits.

Another solution:Save up or prepay for a funeral.

PART IX DEBT AGREEMENTS If you have mounting or multiple debts, these agreements can seem to offer a way out. Debt agreement activity reached the highest annual figure – 10,705 – on record in a financial year in 2013-14, according to the Australian Financial Security Authority.

People often mistakenly think its some form of debt consolidation, says Lane.

Its not. Its a form of bankruptcy, she says. It blemishes your credit report quite seriously and its an act of bankruptcy so people can use it later to make you bankrupt if they want.

Brody says: Part IX debt agreements are probably suitable for someone who wants to avoid bankruptcy because they own property, probably the family home.

Our concern is that the majority of people who end up in debt agreements dont even have property to protect.

The alternative: Seek the advice of a financial counsellor. Often, says Lane, another option like making financial hardship arrangements [with creditors] is much better and has less repercussions.

CREDIT REPAIR SERVICES Its tempting to turn to a credit repair service if previous defaults are preventing you from getting a loan or credit card. However, Lane says such services come with a high price-tag – up to $1000 per default – and may not actually achieve the desired outcome.

Brody explains: If the defaults listed on their credit report are accurate then a credit repairer cant actually remove those. Or, he says, they may only be able to remove one of several default listings. [The consumers] access to finance isnt improved at all but the credit repairer says its done its job according to the contract that theyve entered into with the consumer.

The alternative: You can obtain a free copy of your credit file to check for default listings. Creditors must follow a set procedure before they can list a default. If you believe there is an error on your credit file contact the relevant Ombudsman and make a complaint.

So if it was your energy company that made an incorrect listing you could make a complaint to the Energy Ombudsman, says Brody. Those services are free of charge and very simple.

PERSONAL BUDGETING SERVICES Paying for a service to handle your finances may seem like a positive step if money is causing you angst. Not so, says Lane. If youre in financial difficulty the last thing you need to do is add another creditor to your pile.

Lane says some services tell customers to stop paying their creditors, pay them and they will do deals with their creditors. They also make mistakes such as getting people to pay statute-barred debts, those that are too old for a debt collector or creditor to pursue.

If youre in financial difficulty in any way, all debts are not created equal and you need advice on who to pay and who not to pay and who to make arrangements with and these [services] simply do not do that.

The alternative: Financial counsellors can help you make financial hardship arrangements with creditors. Free budgeting tools are available on ASICs Moneysmart website or the Consumer Action Law Centres MoneyHelp.

Small loans for essentials

Good Shepherd Microfinance helps Centrelink recipients take out NILS loans of $300 to $1200 to buy essential items such as a fridge, washing machine or television. It also has StepUp, a low-interest (5.99 per cent) loan scheme for loans of $800 to $3000.

The loans can be accessed through 660 community organisations throughout Australia, with Carers Victoria the latest organisation to act as a facilitator. NILS recipients have a year to pay off the loan in equal instalments and three years for a StepUp loan.

Good Shepherds Adam Mooney, says NILS borrowers have to meet three criteria: they must have stable housing (at least three to six months in one place); be able to afford the loan and have the intention to repay it.

As part of the assessment process the organisation offers budgeting help. It will lend to the credit impaired and help them negotiate hardship arrangements to repay outstanding debts.

ACTION PLAN

  • Find a free, independent financial counsellor (Call MoneyHelp on 1800 007 007).
  • Consider all your options including hardship arrangements
  • Use free budgeting tools and services
  • Get a free copy of your credit file
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Steve Cahalan: Early learning center opens in Holmen

Little Minds Learning Center, based in Hudson, Wis., has opened its sixth location, at 1100 Linden Drive in Holmen.

Owners Stacy and Todd Barnhardt of Hudson opened their first location in that community in 2008. Since then, they’ve opened early learning centers in Onalaska and River Falls in Wisconsin; Oakdale, Minn.; Littleton, Colo.; and now in Holmen.

The new Little Minds Learning Center-Holmen opened in November. It’s open from 6 am to 7 pm Monday through Friday.

It also is licensed to provide care from 7 am to 4 pm on Saturdays. “If we have enough interest, we would be open for regular care as well” on Saturdays at the Holmen location, said Mari Ficocello-Tabor, executive director of operations for the six centers.

The new location is licensed for children ages 6 weeks to 6 years or the first day of kindergarten, she said.

The centers pride themselves on providing an educational experience that is affordable, and want to be part of the communities they are in, and to give back in any way they can, she said. For more information, call Ficocello-Tabor at 715-781-0244 or visit www.littlemindslc.com or the centers’ Facebook page.

Todd Dietrich opened Apple Blossom Auto Detailing on Feb. 2 at 32529 Hwy. 1, north of La Crescent, Minn. It shares a building with Mark’s Paint amp; Repair; watch for the Mark’s sign and antique gas pumps.

“We are a full-line automotive detail service with interior shampooing and exterior hand washing and waxing,” Dietrich said of his new business, adding that there are many different packages for customers to choose from. He plans to hold an open house in April.

Hours are 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday and Saturdays by appointment. Apple Blossom’s telephone number is 507-450-8826 and its website is www.appleblossomautodetailing.com.

Knight Barry Title Group, based in Racine, acquired The Title Company from Marilyn Wille on Feb. 13.

But Wille and her son, Casey Tomten, will stay with The Title Company, which has offices in La Crosse, Prairie du Chien, Viroqua and Eau Claire. Tomten will manage all four offices — which will operate under the name The Title Company LLC — as regional manager.

Knight Barry Title Group has become the largest title agency in Wisconsin and has 33 offices and 240 employees. Thirty offices are in Wisconsin and the others are in Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois.

“With the addition of these four offices to our service area, we now cover all of western Wisconsin in addition to the rest of the state already covered by Knight Barry,” said Knight Barry President Jeffrey B. Green. For more information, visit www.knightbarry.com.

Tomah Tax Station moved effective Dec. 1 to Suite 108 at 224 W. McCoy Blvd. on the North Side of Tomah, from 411 Superior Ave. in downtown Tomah, where it had been for 17 years. The new location is next to US Cellular and south of Walmart.

Michelle M. Radcliffe owns the business, whose services include tax preparation and consulting, bookkeeping for small businesses, retirement tax planning, personal budgeting and Internal Revenue Service correspondence.

Radcliffe said she took down an old dairy barn last summer and used some of the structural beams and boards in creating a rustic but modern look in her new office.

Hours during tax season are 9 am to 6 pm (and later by appointment) Monday through Friday and 9 am to 1 pm Saturday. Hours the rest of the year are 9 am to 3:30 pm Monday through Thursday or by appointment.

For more information, visit www.tomahtaxstation or the firm’s Facebook page.

Metre, a La Crosse-based advertising agency, opened an office in early February in the Itasca Building at 708 N. First St. in Minneapolis.

“Expanding our reach to other locations, particularly the Twin Cities area, has been part of our plan from day one,” Metre co-owner Kerstin Boudreau said. “Our current clients are active in the Minneapolis area, and we work with a lot of media outlets there. This allows us to get to know the media and vendors, which translates into better opportunities for our clients.” For more information, visit www.metreagency.com.

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Young people embrace financial literacy; learn ins and outs of adult …

Prior to her “shopping expedition,” Penny sat around a table with fellow seventh- and eighth-graders from Friendship Blow Pierce Public Charter School in Southeast staring intently – frowning at times – at a Samsung Galaxy tablet trying to figure out how to make her modest salary stretch. The students, divided into several smaller groups, received instructions, researched a family budget and then wrestled with how best to spend their money.

One instruction adult volunteers gave the group was to spend or save all of their income.

Penny, a 13-year-old eighth-grader, said after participating in a four-hour financial literacy simulation that the experience gave her a better appreciation for the sacrifices and challenges her parents make in caring for her and her siblings.

For this exercise, Penny played a butcher with no children, making $30,000 a year before taxes and operating with a $2,500-a-month budget. She, unlike several others, didn’t have a spouse to share the financial load.

“I’m budgeting and saving, and I have to stick to the budget. I have to stay within my budget or end up with a small amount of money,” she said with a smile. “The first time I came, I didn’t apply what I learned, but now I will because it has an impact on your life.”

Ed Grenier III, president and CEO of Junior Achievement of Greater Washington, said that that’s his organization’s goal. In a society that has seen widespread economic and financial turmoil not seen in decades, Grenier explained, financial literacy has gained added currency.

“Junior Achievement was founded in 1919 to teach kids how business works,” he said. “It evolved into financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness for middle and high school kids. “We’ve broadened the focus. We give them the fundamental basis to be successful in a global economy.

“We recruit adult volunteers from companies or individuals. We teach our program through adult role models who bring their own experiences. The kids learn personal budgeting, lessons on transportation, health care, recreation, dining out. Teaching and training is a big part of what we do.”

About 53,000 teens in the Washington metropolitan region have gone through the Junior Achievement program, and 4 million young people in total have been served. The financial literacy program is available in 125 countries, where 10 million children enjoy the program. In the US, 120 chapters are devoted to teaching young people to become comfortable and proficient with budgeting and finance, debit and credit, compound interest, taxes and investment portfolios.

After the welcome and introductions by Junior Achievement staff in the auditorium, the big reveal turned out to be opening two large wooden sliding doors to the mall populated with storefronts of some of the region and country’s most recognized businesses. Some of them include Clark Construction, CVS, Omega World Travel, Volkswagen, Goodwill, Dominion Light, Northern Virginia Community College and Monumental Sports Entertainment.

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Giving back

Send news about your fundraising events to lbailey.charlotteobserver@gmail.com. Send announcements at least two weeks in advance.

Compiled by Lauren Bailey

Pancakes for a Purpose

Applebee’s Flapjack Fundraiser: The fifth annual Pancakes for a Purpose to benefit the Lustgarten Foundation in fighting pancreatic cancer will be held 7-10 am Feb. 28 at Applebee’s near Stonecrest, 5110 Piper Station Drive. Purchase an $8 pancake breakfast and all proceeds will go to the foundation to fight the cancer, which took the lives of local residents Dave Anstadt and John Bradley. Learn more, donate or purchase tickets at www.pancakesforapurpose.org.

Relay for Life

Dog Wash fundraiser: Teams from Relay for Life of Ballantyne are planning a dog wash 11 am-3 pm Feb. 28 at Canine CafÃ, 125 Remount Road to raise money to support the American Cancer Society. Cost is $15 per dog. Learn more about Relay for Life at Relayforlife.org/Ballantynenc.

York County Animal Shelter

Volunteers needed: The York County Animal Shelter Adoption Center, 713 Justice Blvd., York, SC, is seeking volunteers to help bathe, groom, exercise, socialize and train animals. They also need help with providing adoption information, publicity and marketing. Volunteers must be 18 or older and go through training. To learn more, call 803-818-6485 or download an application at www.yorkcountygov.com/AnimalControl.

Agape Senior

Canine forward program: Agape Senior, which provides a variety of assistance to seniors in the Rock Hill and York areas, is seeking volunteers for its new Canine Forward program. This service offers regular free dog walking and playtime services for seniors living independently, but who are unable to exercise their animals. The program depends on volunteers and Canine Forward provides training. To learn more or volunteer, call 803-329-4544.

Animal Adoption League

Foster Homes needed: The Animal Adoption League, based in Rock Hill, SC, is seeking foster homes for dogs and cats. Foster homes are asked to provide foster animals with love, food, water and shelter. AAL was founded in 1992 by a Charlotte-area group to provide veterinary care and temporary-to-permanent housing for homeless and rescued animals. To learn more, visit www.mynextpet.com.

Shoe Closet

Collection: Lake Wylie Realty, 1 Executive Ct., Lake Wylie, SC, is accepting new and gently used shoe donations to be distributed by local charity organizations through the Shoe Closet project. Call 704-309-1549 for more information.

CAAC

Volunteers needed: The Clover Area Assistance Center, 1130 SC 55 East, is seeking volunteers with skills in curriculum development/instruction; programs and services; information technology; financial assistance; and personal budgeting. Volunteers for pantry and computer intake are also needed. As the largest food panty in western York County, CAAC provides aid through food, financial assistance, education and medical care. To learn more, call 803-222-4837.

Brookstone Schools

Fundraiser: Brookstone Schools of Mecklenburg County will host its sixth annual Friend and Fundraiser to support its mission of equipping the lives of urban students academically, socially and spiritually for the future. The event will take place 6:30 pm Feb. 26 at the Hilton Center City. To learn more about sponsoring a table or buying a ticket, visit http://www.brookstoneschools.org/content/giving/fundraiser.html or call 704-392-6330.

Spay Neuter Charlotte

Food Pantry Open: Spay Neuter Charlotte has launched a community pet food pantry and is also offering a limited number of free surgeries for pet owners in need throughout the Charlotte region. The Pet Food Pantry will offer free pet food at both Spay Neuter Charlotte locations: 2017 N. Davidson Street and 10833 Pineville Road. Donations of dog or cat food are accepted at either location. The clinic also provides 70 free surgeries each month for pets that need to be fixed, but whose owners cannot afford the surgeries. To make an appointment call 704-375-2009.

CBCC

Pints for Pounds: For each blood donation, CBCC will give seven pounds of food to Second Harvest Food Bank. Learn more or schedule your appointment by visiting www.cbcc.us or calling 704-972-4700. Make an even bigger impact by hosting a blood drive. Call Kim Jones at 704-972-4727 to learn more.

Walk MS

Registration open: The Greater Carolinas Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society opened registration for all 2015 Walk MS events. The Charlotte walk will be held 9 am May 2 at Symphony Park near Southpark Mall. To register and help raise funds for the National MS Society, visit www.walkms.org or call 1-800-344-4867.

Union County Girl Scouts

Wesley Chapel Open Market: The Union County Girl Scouts from Troop 1279 and 2684 will host the second annual Wesley Chapel Open Market and Yard Sale 8 am-2 pm March 28 at Siler Presbyterian Church, 6301 Weddington Monroe Road, Wesley Chapel. For local crafters, farmers, yard sellers, business owners and Scouts interested in participating as vendors, registration is now open. Space is available indoors and outdoors with a discount before Feb. 28 for indoor vendors. To learn more or sign up as a vendor, email Kim at kdibiasio@hotmail.com.

Harrison United Methodist

Consignment sale: Harrison United Methodist Church will hold a Children’s Consignment Sale to benefit church programs at 15008 Lancaster Hwy, Pineville. Consignment sale days are:

▪ March 5, 6-8 pm

▪ March 6, 9 am-1 pm

▪ March 7, 8 am-12 pm (Half-price sale).

To consign, volunteer or learn more, visit www.humcfaithcircle.org. Cash and checks only. No strollers allowed inside the sale.

St. Nektarios Greek Church

Consigners needed: St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church is currently seeking consigners for its upcoming “Tots 2 Teens” consignment sale to be held 8 am-3:30 pm March 7 at the church, 5108 Kuykendall Road. Registration is now open for consigners with a $10 fee. To register, visit www.tots2teensconsignsale.com. Thirty percent of all proceeds will go to local and international charities selected by the Ladies Philoptochos Society and Church Missions. Remaining proceeds will go back to the consigners.

Justice Ministries

Help needed: Justice Ministries works to combat sex trafficking and exploitation of women with a focus of rescue and housing. Monthly partners are needed to help support these efforts with a current goal of 100 partners at $30 per month. Donations are tax deductible. Visit www.justiceministries.org to learn more.

Carolina Waterfowl Rescue

Volunteers needed: Volunteers are always needed at CWR to work in a variety of roles. Intern positions are also available for high school and college students. For more information, email volunteer@cwrescue.org. Learn more about both these opportunities at www.carolinawaterfowlrescue.com.

Mooresville Area

Personal care collection: Personal care items are being collected for students in need. Featured items for February are: laundry detergent and bars of soap. Drop off items 9 am-9 pm Mon.-Thurs., and 9 am-6 pm Fridays at Mooresville Library, 304 S. Main Street, Mooresville. Items also may be dropped 9 am-11 am Mondays and Wednesdays at Food for Days, 224 Rolling Hill Road, Suite 1B, Mooresville.

Lupus Foundation

Walk: The Lupus Foundation of America, NC Chapter will hold its 14th Annual Walk to End Lupus Now 3 pm May 16 at CPCC Belk Plaza, 425 North Kings Drive. To register, visit http://walktoendlupus.kintera.org/charlotte.

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Getting your finances fighting fit

FOR those unfamiliar with reality TV, Michelle Bridges is one of the personal trainers putting contestants on The Biggest Loser through their paces.

But where Ms Bridges helps her clients lose weight, Ms Bailey helps shed debt. She delivers her help free of charge through her website, www.debtto10K.com.au, which provides advice, guidance, challenges and deals designed to deliver customers from debt to a bank balance of $10,000. Clients are typically aged in their late 30s or early 40s, with a couple of children and a couple of cars, living comfortably with a decent income. But also a fair amount of debt. Were trying to help the people get out of that debt situation and save some money before they have a need for a government-regulated debt agreement or bankruptcy or having to pay for personal budgeting services which can be quite expensive, Ms Bailey says.
Her business is completely online, with plenty of help but no face to face contact. This ensures privacy and avoids embarrassment, Ms Bailey says. The only income for her company is through commissions from services to which she refers her clients. The only way the company makes money is if we save people money, she says. In future, there may be opportunities for additional products, to charge a fee, but the basic service offering, there will always be a free model, there will always be something free to use – no strings. Ms Bailey has drawn on her own experience with debt to help others. A few years ago she returned from an overseas holiday with plenty of great memories, but also a great big credit card blowout, upwards of $10,000. Shes keen to help others with her experience, gained from several years working in an insolvency office and the canny techniques she used to pay down her travel debt. Weve been compared quite often to being the Michelle Bridges of personal finance, Ms Baily says. Its people like – if you are using the fitness thing – myself, who has got a couple of kilos to lose, but I dont have the time, its too difficult and I would need someone to help me through and push me along. Its not something I would have the motivation to do by myself. I need a program, I need pointers, I need goals, that sort of thing.

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What’s Going On

Editors Note: Events listed in the calendar must be submitted in writing. Calendar items are not accepted over the telephone. Information may be e-mailed to nelmes@civitasmedia.com or faxed to 591-4379. The deadline is 3 pm Monday prior to publication. The calendar is reserved for non-profit organizations, school and community events. Ongoing calendar items will be published as space allows. Because of space limitations, some announcements only appear the week of the event. If you have a legal requirement to publish an announcement, you must purchase advertising space. Go to www.stokesnews.com to view the full calendar.

Sunday, Jan. 11

Lawsonville Volunteer Fire Rescue Department will hold their Annual Board of Directors meeting on January 11, 2015 at 2:00 pm. Community is welcomed.

Tuesday, Jan. 13

The next meeting of the Stokes Partnership for Children Board of Directors will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015 at 3:00 pm 151 Jefferson Church Road, King, NC 27021. The public is invited to attend.

Thursday, Jan. 15

The next meeting of the Stokes Partnership for Children North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten Committee, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015 at 3:00 pm, Stokes Partnership for Children Conference Room, 151 Jefferson Church Road, King. The public is invited to attend.

Ongoing Events

Walnut Ridge Assisted Living in cooperation with many local agencies, is offering a new series of free educational workshops with free lunch. The workshops will cover many caregiving related topics, healthy living education and awareness on the last Wednesday of each month from 12-1 pm to reserve you seat contact Angie Bailey at 336-414-1122 or abailey@ridgecare.com.

Stokes County Senior Services needs volunteers for Meals-On-Wheels in the Danbury, Francisco and Walnut Cove areas. If you have a few hours of free time during the week, please call our office at 336-593-8156.

Walnut Cove Senior Center is offering Chair Exercise Classes on Thursdays at 1-2pm and Shag Dance Classes on Thursdays from 4 to 5 pm For more info call 591-5442.

Caregivers Support Group – Open to all caregivers, this group is designed to provide tips and encouragement for anyone caring for an elderly loved one. Every second Tuesday starting June 10 from 2:00 pm-3:00 pm at Priddy Manor Assisted Living. Refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Christy Bower at 336-983-3068.

Basket Making Classes Danbury Community Church member Sarah Hunt is offering a basket-making class for friends in the Danbury/Stokes Community. The meetings will be on Sunday afternoons at 2 pm at Danbury Community Church in the white Chapel at 300 South Main St., Danbury. Everyone interested is invited.

Line Dance Class Join instructor Don Richardson at the Walnut Cove Senior Center every Tuesday evening at 5:30 pm and Wednesdays at 1 pm for a line dancing class, for seniors age 55 and up. Call 591-5442 for more information and registration.

Advanced Line Dance Class Join instructor Pat Atkins at the Walnut Cove Senior Center every Wed. from 3 to 4:30 pm for an advanced line dancing class, for seniors age 55 and up. Call 591-5442 for more information and registration.

Senior Dance The Madison-Mayodan Recreation Dept. is now offering a Senior Dance every Tuesday at 2 pm in the dining room. This is free to Senior Citizens and is a time to allow socialization as well as free-style dancing solo or with your partner. Enjoy music of all kinds from the 1930s to the present. Refreshments are provided. For more information, please contact the Madison-Mayodan Recreation Department at 336-548-2789.

Pre-K program Applications are now being accepted for the NC Pre-K Program in Stokes County for the 2013-2014 school year. NC Pre-K is a statewide initiative targeting at-risk children to prepare them for school. A child must be age four on or before Aug. 31 to be age-eligible. Other criteria considered for enrollment include family income, identified disabilities, limited English proficiency, chronic health issues, developmental/educational needs and active military families. Applications can be downloaded at www.stokespfc.com or picked up at Stokes Partnership for Children, 151 Jefferson Church Road, King. For more information, visit www.stokespfc.com or call 985-2676.

Foster parent Help Stokes County children by becoming a foster parent. Contact Allison Pinnix at 593-2432 for more information.

Theology class Bible Study Class Women of the Bible, will be held at Walnut Cove Senior Center, 308 Brook Street, the first and fourth Tuesday each month from 10 to 11 am Free to register. Call 591-5442.

Dance Inspire Stokes County a nonprofit group providing activities for children and adults in Stokes County with developmental disabilities holds dances the first Friday of every month from 6 to 8 pm in the Southeastern Middle School cafeteria. The free event will also feature snacks and door prizes. A parent networking group meets the third Friday of every month at Walnut Cove Public Library at 6 pm Parents can bring kids. Call Kris at 682-0653 or Mitzi at 414-8884 for more information or visit the Facebook page.

Drivers Volunteer drivers needed for Meal on Wheels in Francisco, King and Walnut Cove. Hours are approximately 10:30-11:30 am Flexible days. Mileage reimbursement available. Contact Vicky East at Senior Services at 593-8156.

Music jam Lambsburg Community Center, Lambsburg, Va., host Friday Night Jam from 7 to 10 pm every Friday night. Bluegrass, old time, gospel and country. Great food, clean restrooms, ample parking, playground, walking trial. All musicians, dancers, and lovers of great mountain music are welcome. A Crooked Road Venue. For more info call 336-648-2078 or pwberrier@gmail.com. Visit us at www.lambsburgcommunitycenter.org.

Support group If you are a victim or survivor of sexual assault, a support group is now available to you free of charge. For more information please contact Stokes County Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program at 336-595-9323 (24/7 crisis line is also available).

Fundraising campaign Join the Walnut Cove Senior Center in its latest fundraising campaign. Sponsor a senior for one year by contributing $100 and your name or the name of your choice will be placed on the sponsor board at the Senior Center. For more info, contact the Walnut Cove Senior Center at 336-591-5442.

Storytime Join people at the King Public Library each Tuesday morning at 10:30 for Preschool Story-time. The program, recommended for children 3 to 5 years of ages, is a mix of stories, singing, finger-plays, and crafts, and of course, fun.

Tai-Chi Tai-Chi for arthritis is free for mature adults age 55+ at the Walnut Cove Senior Center, 308 Brooke Street, Walnut Cove, from 10:45-11:30 am every Friday morning. This program is approved by the Arthritis Foundation of America and is based on numerous scientific studies that show it can bring significant relief from arthritis symptoms. Class size is limited and pre-registration is recommended. Call the Senior Center at 336-591-5442 to register. David McMahon, ND, a board certified holistic health practitioner based in Winston-Salem and a certified Tai Chi for Arthritis instructor will lead the classes.

Job Skills Forsyth Technical Community College offers a free Employability Skills Lab at the King Public Library. The hours are Monday-Friday, noon to 4 pm An instructor is on hand to help job seekers prepare their resumes, job readiness training, job applications, interview skills, and obtain training to enhance their skills for the job market. If you are looking for a job or career we can help. The instructor will help you submit online applications, create professional portfolios, or help you decide on a career field. The Employability Skills Lab offers the benefit of one-on-one instruction in a comfortable environment. No matter your skill level, instructors will help you improve them and do what it takes to get the job that you want.

Farmers market The Stokes Farmers Market is open for the 2013 season. Veteran growers and new vendors will be arriving with seasoned fruits and vegetables each opening. The market is located at The American Legion Grounds in King. Hours of operation are Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 am to noon. The Stokes Farmers Market is also at Walnut Cove every Monday, from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm, at the Main Street Diner in Walnut Cove. Stokes Farmers Market can now accept SFMNP/FMNP Vouchers (Senior and WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program Vouchers).

Farmers market The King Farmers Market will take place at the Stokes Family YMCA on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 11 am to 1 pm, featuring a variety of locally grown items.

ECA trips The Stokes County ECA has the following trip planned: On Dec. 1, the group will travel to Smithfield to the Carolina Outlet Mall for shopping. The group has reserved seats to The American Jubilee Christmas Show in Selma. Pick-up for both trips will start in Lawsonville, Sandy Ridge and Walnut Cove. For more information or to reserve a seat, call Madeline Watkins at 593-8866.

Support group Gam-anon is a 12-step self-help fellowship of men and women who have been affected by the gambling problem of a loved one. This group meets on Thursday at 7 pm For information call 336-681-8516 or visit the website at www.gam-anon.org.

Drug abuse help If you or a family member is struggling with substance abuse, HELP is a phone call away at Twin City Area Narcotics Anonymous Helpline 800-365-1035. See the website WWW.tcana.org for meeting schedules and additional information. This is a 12-step recovery program.

Resource library KidSource Child Care Resource and Referral, a program of Stokes Partnership for Children, has a resource libraryfree of chargeloaded with lots of resources for childcare programs, teachers, parents, grandparents, community agencies and students. It is located within SPC at 151 Jefferson Church Road in King. Hours for library use are 8 am-6:30 pm on Mon. (excluding holidays) and 8 am5 pm Tue.-Fri. Sat. and other evenings can be scheduled by appointment. Call 985-2676, extension 148, for questions or additional information.

NAACP meetings The Stokes County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) will have its monthly meetingsopen to the publicthe third Mon. of each month at 5:30 pm at the Walnut Cove Senior Center, 308 Brook Street. For more information, call (866) 626-2227.

Small Business services The Forsyth Technical Small Business Center provides free one-on-one confidential counseling services for new and existing businesses. This free service acts as a sounding board of ideas and concerns people may have about their businesses. To schedule an appointment or find out about the small business center courses, call 631-1320 or 631-1167.

Volunteers needed Senior Services needs volunteer drivers to deliver lunch to home-bound elderly in Walnut Cove and Danbury. Flexible schedules are available. Call 593-8156.

Volunteers needed Volunteers are needed in the Activity Department at Stokes Reynolds Memorial Hospital, Inc. Areas that volunteers are helpful in include playing games, baking, doing exercise, reading, making crafts, preaching, singing or just doing a devotional. If interested in the volunteer program, call Carol Tilley, CAD, at 593-2831, extension 242.

Foster parents needed The Stokes Department of Social Services is in need of foster parents. Anyone interested in becoming a foster parent or who wants more information may call Lori Priddy at the Danbury office of the Stokes County DSS at 593-2861.

Medical equipment available King American Legion has wheelchairs, walkers, toilet seats, bath benches, crutches and other medical equipment for loan to the public. These items are for loan at no charge; the Legion only asks that items be returned when they are no longer needed. For pick-up, call 983-3608 for an appointment.

Empowering meetings Juggling children, a job and a home? Alone? Has a partner been emotionally or physically abusive? Attend educational meetings to gain insight and strength. Meetings are self-empowering and confidential. If interested, call 593-9323.

ESL class A free ESL: English as a Second Language class (una clase de ingles) is offered (son gratis) on an ongoing basis. For additional information, call the Forsyth Tech Stokes County Center at 593-5402, ext. 1117. Para Espaol, 983-6620.

GED classes Free GED classes are offered at various sites throughout Stokes County. Placement Testing is available each Mon. at 9 am in the Forsyth Tech Stokes County Center at 1156 Dodgetown Rd. For additional information, contact the Forsyth Tech Stokes County Center at 593-5402, ext. 1117.

Sandy Ridge building Anyone wishing to rent the Sandy Ridge Community Center should contact Kaye Isbell at 871-8477. There is an upstairs part with or without the use of the kitchen, or the bottom bay area may be rented. The community center is an important asset to Sandy Ridge and needs to be utilized as much as possible.

Survivors of Suicide Support Group and Outreach Group The Survivors group meets the first and third Mon. of each month at 6 pm at Chestnut Grove United Methodist Church in King. The Suicide Survivors Outreach Group meets on the first and third Mon. at 7:30 pm Call 591-3684 for more information. This is sponsored by Counseling and Care Ministries of Stokes County Mental Health Association.

Prints for sale Stokes County Arts Council has signed and numbered prints of the Veterans Memorial in King by Stokes County artist Frank Duncan available for sale at the SCAC office. Proceeds go to continuing community arts programs and to the upkeep of the memorial. The SCAC also has other Stokes County landmark prints by various artists for sale. Cost of prints is $50 each. For more information, call 593-8159.

East Stokes Community Building The East Stokes Community Building, intersection of Highway 772 and K-Fork Road, is available to rent for any occasion. No alcohol is allowed. Anyone interested should call Ray Joyce at 949-3408.

Ladies Auxiliary meeting The Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Danbury Post #5953 meets the first Tue. of each month at 6 pm at the Dan River Family Restaurant in Danbury. Membership is open to wives, widows, daughters and granddaughters of veterans who served overseas in any war. For more information, call Auxiliary President Nora Lankford at 593-8785 or Membership Chairman Barbara Thal at 591-7262.

Al-Anon meeting Al-Anon is an anonymous fellowship of friends and family members of alcoholics. If a loved ones drinking or drug use is a problem in someones life, Al-Anon can help. The meetings will be held at 9 am on Sat. at the Danbury Community Church Chapel, 300 South Main Street, Danbury. Call John at 593-2969 for more information.

IAAP meetings The Winston-Salem Chapter of International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) meets on the second Tue. of each month at 5:45 pm at the office of Womble Carlyle Sandridge and Rice, PLLC, 1 W. Fourth St., Winston-Salem, on the 13th floor. To make a reservation, call Patricia Shelton at 480-2101.

Business consultations Forsyth Tech offers free, confidential counseling for individuals who operate small businesses or who desire to start a small business in Stokes County. Trained professionals will provide consultation services at a convenient time and location to meet individual schedules. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 817-5069.

Cemetery donations needed The Amos Cemetery, located on Amostown Road in Sandy Ridge, is in need of donations. Those with family or friends buried here may consider making a donation. This is a privately funded cemetery, and without donations, it is impossible to maintain year after year. Please make checks payable to the Amos Cemetery, care of Mrs. Darrel Lester, 3212 Amostown Road, Sandy Ridge, NC 27046, or make a donation at any Southern Community Bank. The bank will direct it to the cemetery fund account.

Historical Society website The new website for the Stokes County Historical Society is now available at http://www.sc-hs.org/. The new site is a work in progress, and new photos and features will be added as time passes.

SPC newsletter Stokes Partnership for Children is now offering its newsletter Building Foundations electronically. Sign up now to receive this free newsletter via email by going to www.stokespfc.com; click on News/Events. The public is also invited to join SPC on Facebook and YouTube; links are on the website.

Cruz-In There will be a cruz-in at Hardees in Walnut Cove Shopping Center the fourth Sat. of each month from 5 pmuntil. There will be music and a 50/50 drawing. For more information, contact Jackie White at 591-7612.

Senior financial advice A representative from Senior Financial Care, a program of Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Forsyth, Inc., will be on site at Walnut Cove Senior Center, on the third Monday of each month from 8:30 am-4:30 pm to assist citizens ages 60 and older with personal budgeting, credit counseling, medical insurance, reverse mortgage and fraud awareness. To schedule an appointment, call 336-896-1328.

Computer class Computer Skills for Job Seekers is a free class provided to the unemployed and underemployed by Forsyth Techs Stokes County Center. The classes take place at the King Public Library each Tuesday and Thursday from 9 am-12 pm For more information, please call the library at 983-3868 or the Forsyth Tech Stokes County Center at 593-5402, ext. 1117. Those who are unemployed and wish to have assistance finding work, improving computer skills or creating a resume may come by the library and register for the classes.

Resource center The Eden Goodwill Community Resource Center recently opened at 220 W. Kings, Suite H, Eden, and people can enroll for work-related classes, free for adults who are unemployed or underemployed seeking work. To register call 336-623-3007.

Volunteers needed Volunteer drivers are needed to deliver lunch to homebound older adults in the King area. Flexible schedules and mileage reimbursement are offered. Call Senior Services Home Delivered Meal Program at 593-8156 or 983-0734, ext. 1504.

Resource guide Update your information in the 2012-14 Stokes Family Resource Guide. This comprehensive pocket sized resource guide provides a convenient means to locate information about agencies and organizations providing services and support for children and families. This guide has become a valuable resource for families and professionals. The new 2012-14 biennial Stokes Family Resource Guide will continue to be free of charge to anyone who would like one. Your listing is also free so be sure and update your information. Go to www.stokespfc.com for more information and to download the form.

Ancestry research Discovering your own family tree has never been easier or more affordable. The King Public Library now provides ancestry.com free on library Internet computers and via your own laptop using the librarys wi-fi. Enjoy this gift courtesy of the Elkin Public Library Board of Trustees honoring the generosity of Ola and Lin Hendren. Ancestry.com is available at all branches of the Northwestern Regional Library in Alleghany, Stokes, Surry and Yadkin Counties.

Quilting Club Meets every 2nd Tues. of the month at 6 pm at the Rural Hall Public Library. This class is for anyone that is interested in quilting and all levels are welcome. Please bring personal supplies to club meetings. Please call 703-2970 to confirm the meeting is still taking place.

Sewing club The public is invited to join Its Sew Fun! a sewing club at the Rural Hall Branch Library. This club meets on the third Tue. evening of each month at 6 pm Participants may bring any UFO.s (unfinished objects) they may need help with or work on the project of the night. All levels of expertise are welcome. Call 703-2970 for more information.

Art Club Meets every Tues. at 10 am Local artist create different works of art and get inspired by one another. This club is open to all individuals, beginning and experienced. Please bring personal supplies to club meetings. Please call 703-2970 to confirm the meeting is still taking place.

Tatting workshop A tatting workshop is held the second Tues. of each month at 3 pm at the Rural Hall Library. All levels of expertise are welcome, including beginners. Learn this lost art from Sue Miller, a lifelong tatter and a member of the NC Regional Lacers Association. All supplies will be provided, and everyone is welcome. Call 703-2970 for more information.

Nook checkout Have you been thinking about purchasing an electronic eReader? If you would like to take a crack at one before taking that step, visit the King Public Library where you can borrow a Barnes and Noble Nook for a one week check out period. The library has several books downloaded to browse through. For more information, please contact the King Public Library at 983-3868 or email at kin@nwrl.org.

eBooks The Northwestern Regional Library now has eBooks available for checkout for your computer, mobile device, iPod, iPad, or eBook reader. Simply go to www.nwrl.org and click on the link to Overdrive. Youll need your library card and pin number handy.

Book club The Rural Hall Book Club meets for lively discussions of favorite books the first Tues. of each month at 7 pm at the Rural Hall Library. Everyone is welcome! Call 703-2970 for more information.

Book To order Bob Carrolls book Old, Odd and Other Stuff, Volume I or II, email stokeshistorian@hotmail.com. The books are $20 each. Many copies of Volume II are available, but few copies are left of Volume I.

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