Redesigned Financial Empowerment Training Helps Professionals Support Iowa Families during Tough Times

September 23, 2020, 10:19 am | Phyllis Zalenski, Suzanne Bartholomae

adult volunteer visits older adult during a pandemic by verbaska/, Iowa – Drops in income, increased unemployment, unexpected disasters and overall economic instability in 2020 have resulted in financial uncertainty for many Iowa families.

“Families are searching for resources and guidance to relieve stress and be more financially stable,” says Phyllis Zalenski, a human sciences specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “Professionals and community members who help support financially stressed adults are in demand now more than ever.”

Service providers, volunteers and clergy members have established helping relationships with families and often assist in a range of issues, which frequently have a financial connection. ISU Extension and Outreach is offering a redesigned “Your Money, Your Goals” course to help these individuals empower people who are overwhelmed by their financial situation.

“The ‘Your Money, Your Goals’ training was designed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and provides an opportunity to build capacity to address current financial topics such as cash flow, managing debt, planning for the unexpected, accessing credit reports and more,” said Zalenski, who specializes in family finance and co-facilitates the course.

The redesigned course, now available online, includes two, 2-hour sessions filled with activities, discussion, resource materials and more. Upcoming sessions are scheduled on Oct. 15 and 22, 9 -11 a.m., as well as Dec. 7 and 14, 9-11 a.m.

The registration fee is $35 and pre-registration is required at for October or for December.

Past participants in “Your Money, Your Goals” report the workshop effectively improved their ability to meet the needs of the people they serve. Participants leave the workshop understanding core financial management topics and feeling prepared to use the tools and resources offered in the financial empowerment toolkit. Participants were confident in their ability to have conversations about financial issues with the people they serve and to help them manage their financial challenges.

Each participant receives access to a 240+ page toolkit that includes easy-to-follow directions, as well as examples for using the tools. In addition, links are provided to companion booklets that can be used with the toolkit or separately and are designed to address the unique needs of specific populations, such as Native Communities, people with disabilities or adults with criminal records.

For more information about “Your Money, Your Goals,” contact Phyllis Zalenski,, 319-480-1106, or Mary Weinand,, 319-931-5087, or visit the website,

Photo credit: verbaska/


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