A Few Words from Our Coaches
“This is an excellent program and I have enjoyed getting to know my buddy. She has young children and is a smart, motivated, personable, and caring person. She has encountered some significant bumps, but is working hard to improve her circumstances.
Financial skills would be beneficial for any coach, but I was easily able to learn along the way from the classes and on my own. I found my most important contribution was talking things through with my buddy, supporting her goals, and helping her figure out steps to reach them.
By graduation, she had reached her short-term goals of paying off a debt, opening a savings account and regularly contributing to it, and obtaining her first credit card — all of which should improve her credit rating. She is also making progress towards her longer-term goals of heading back to school and taking a family vacation. She was fully responsible for her progress; I was only a small, but important, sidekick.
I am impressed by the work Budget Buddies accomplishes in helping women find the financial literacy to better their lives by the simple yet brilliant idea of partnership.” – Peggy Papanastassiou, Stow, MA
Volunteer Spotlight: Liz Gustin
The Budget Buddies’ Founding Mothers Award celebrates outstanding contributions to Budget Buddies’ mission of promoting financial literacy and confidence among low-income women. Liz Gustin was awarded this top honor in October 2016. Liz, a financial advisor with Wingate Wealth Advisors in Lexington, was recruited to coach for the pilot program in 2010.
“I was recruited off the street,” Liz recalls. “I inquired about opportunities to help low-income women when [Founding Mother] Kathy Brough was selling raffle tickets to support a homeless shelter in Lowell.”
Liz successfully coached for Budget Buddies’ first three programs. Her role in the organization then quickly grew and evolved. She has served as a presenter (you may have seen her present Saving for that Big-Ticket Item) and a program leader. She has also worked on the curriculum committee and conducted volunteer information nights, new coach orientations, and buddy focus groups.
Favorite Moment – So Far
Asked her favorite Budget Buddies moment, Liz recalls the 2015 Play It Forward concert: “Standing on stage with my buddy [Jackie, from the pilot program] and listening to her speak from her heart about what Budget Buddies means to her was amazing. She had no plan to say anything but ‘thank you’ and when she took the mic she spoke so well of what the organization had done for her and our relationship. That was from a woman who had no intention of staying after the first workshop!”
Having watched the organization evolve, Liz speaks with authority when she shares its significance:
“The most compelling thing about Budget Buddies is the impact it has on people’s lives, both buddies and coaches. The increase in confidence of the women we work with is truly amazing from the Getting to Know You night to graduation. Everyone is so warm and committed. I feel like I am part of something really big!”
A Bright Future
Liz sees a bright future for Budget Buddies: “My dream is to see Budget Buddies expand beyond our current geographic area and to keep growing. There are so many women who need us. I frequently get calls from people wanting to know how someone they know can get into the program. I wish I could help them all, because the program works!”
Thank you, Liz! We are truly grateful for your commitment and many contributions to our organization.