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Each resident learns and practices home management skills such as cooking, cleaning, and scheduling daily appointments. She must comply with curfews, weekly drug testing, and a financial agreement that outlines her required participation in a savings program. As soon as she becomes employed and begins earning money, each resident is required to put a portion of her available income into a savings account. Participants also pay a small program fee and retain a portion of their income for personal daily use.
Marian House recognizes how important it is for program participants to acquire life skills relative to handling money. Therefore, each client initially establishes a saving account with Marian House, Inc. Our Financial Assistant provides individual statements for each woman as well as a monthly summary of her account status and receipts for all financial transactions. Participants cannot make withdrawals without the signed authorization of the Finance Assistant. Counselors guide residents in determining how to spend their money. Residents who succeed in accumulating $1,000 in savings are recognized through a special celebration each time that amount is realized.
Our procedure for handling savings helps participants achieve a comfort level in carrying out financial transactions. As residents advance from the first phase of the program (Marian House I) to the second (Marian House II), they take on more responsibility for their own finances. Ordinarily, they open both a checking and savings account with a commercial bank. The Marian House II counselors monitor residents’ account activities. They also teach the women how to set up a budget and a system for paying bills on time, balance their checkbooks as well as developing a plan for continuing to keep a savings account going. Income tax preparation tutoring is also available.
In addition to these important lessons learned in daily life at Marian House, residents participate in weekly wellness and life skills groups. Contractual group facilitators address relapse prevention, health and self care topics and guest speakers are often brought in to assist with the dispensing of information.