Financial health can build a solid foundation

Understanding your own financials leads to success in many areas of life

Second Day of The Joseph Project: Tuesday, August 1 (7:45am – 1:15pm)


Welcome back to day two of The Joseph Project. Today’s focus is on finances. We discussed goals and how to achieve them, personal financial management, and finances…God’s way. The instructors for the day were:

The importance of goals

The day started by looking ahead, asking each person where they see themselves in five years. Looking ahead at how they are providing for themselves and their family. Looking ahead at what you’ll be doing, where you’ll be working. Pat Gorski asks Lucas and Mark for their goals. Gorski is broad when asking for their goals because he doesn’t want to limit them.

Before having the participants write their goals down, he goes over the key components of creating a goal and explains the importance of a SMART goal. SMART goals represent a goal that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. Lucas and Mark took a few minutes to come up with their goals and after some fine tuning they up with these goals:

Lucas: Save $10,000 in the next three years so I can go back to school and help individuals with AODA issues.
Mark: Earn $700 a week to support my household focusing on the needs vs the wants.

Given that Mark and Lucas both set goals pertaining to money, it makes sense that the next block of instruction was focused on personal financial management. Gorski breaks down financial management into two sections, containing nine mindsets:

Mark & Lucas's financial goals.
  • The Concept of Money
    • Know where your money is
    • Stay on top of your balances
    • Maintain a simple budget
  • Financial Independence
    • Save for an emergency
    • Work to build your credit score
    • Understand credit and loan offers
    • Separate needs from wants
    • Take nothing for granted
    • Learn how to ask for help

Creating a healthy budget

Gorski took the goals of each participant and, because they both focused on a set amount of money, had the class work on a simple budget. Line items included the certainties in life such as our cell phone bills, household utilities, rent or mortgage payments, health, life, and car insurance, and plenty of other weekly, monthly, and annual dues.

Once we had our budget set and numbers in place, we went through it line by line and found where we could save money and where we couldn’t. This exercise forced us to look at items we needed against those we wanted. Participants were able to trim over $1,000 from their monthly budget simply by cutting out the monthly subscription services and cost of dining out.

This was a good refresher for me and my personal finances. It is easy these days to overspend in areas of want because they are fun, instead of concentrating finances for areas of need. I see daily how important financial planning and management is with guests in shelter and our daytime resource centers at St. John’s Ministries.

The importance of financial health is foundational. Money problems won’t just impact the financial and physical health of participants, it can ruin relationships, cause low-self-confidence, and lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms. There is no better feeling than being totally in control of your financial health. The number one goal of personal financial management for Lucas and Mark is to provide them with resources to make money decisions that will move them forward.

Employer partners

Services Plus representative speaking to the participants.

Over the course of the day, the classroom had two visitors from two separate employer partners in the community. Nancy joined us from Ahlstrom (a paper manufacturer in West De Pere), and Rebecca from Services Plus (a manufacturer and package of tissue products on the east side of Green Bay). Both women represent their company’s Human Resources department. They talked about their company, values, and workplace culture. Both discussed specifics about the job openings available to The Joseph Project graduates, the wages of each position, each shift’s hours, the company’s benefit package(s) and the overall hiring process.

Ahlstrom representative speaking to participants.

Ahlstrom had open positions for Production Operators. Their employees work 14 days each month on 12-hour swing shifts, working days and nights throughout the month. Services Plus had openings for Production Line Workers, Material Handlers, and Maintenance Assistants. Services Plus works 8-hour shifts and has openings on 2nd and 3rd shifts for current applicants.

Each organization has a competitive wage scale, full benefit packages, and employee perks specific to their company. These are the jobs available to Mark and Lucas upon graduation from The Joseph Project, and the reason this week is happening.

Thank you

Thank you to all our employer partners for making The Joseph Project possible!


Thank you for the opportunities you present to The Joseph Project graduates!

It has been a jam packed two days with so much valuable information being provided and learned through these first two days. I can see the change in Mark and Lucas happening right before my eyes. The struggles of our neighbors in real and these two men are taking the time to become successful again. The Jospeh Project is a special program and I can’t wait to see what the next two days will bring. Stay tuned.

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