INVESTING IN RECOVERY: CASE Credit Union staff member Lea leads one of the sessions on financial literacy for Mid-Michigan Recovery Services clients.

The recovery journey is full of hard work, requiring new ways of thinking and new ways of living.

Because our nonprofit focuses on serving the poorest drug and alcohol patients — often homeless — many of the men and women in our care struggle with debt and bad credit.

Some have never had a household budget or a savings account.

They need tools and help to rebuild their new lives. And teams from CASE Credit Union in Lansing are helping them to do just that.

CASE financial counselors conduct on-site financial literacy education for Mid-Michigan Recover Service patients.

The four-week program covers:

Sara Dove, community financial manager for CASE Credit Union.

1. Foundational topics (financial institutions, savings and checking accounts and other services)
2. Saving and budgeting
3. Repairing credit
4. A topic chosen by vote of  participants​

“The most surprising part of this experience is seeing that we all really aren’t that different, that at the end of the day we are all people just making it through life,” said Sara Dove, community financial manager for CASE.

“We all need money to survive and all have financial decisions to make every single day,” she said. “And while we are all learning together, it makes everyone in the room, myself included, more prepared to take on everything life throws at us.”

As a Community Development Credit Union (CDCU), CASE has a mission of serving low and moderate-income people and communities.

Many of the participants are so energized by the classes that they seek out additional sessions with certified financial counselors.

The classes are an excellent complement to the holistic approach of Mid-Michigan Recovery Services. Our goal is to help patients find the stability and safety that was missing in the grip of their illness. This includes building “social capital” — housing, employment, healthcare, connection with family and community. Financial health is a big part of that.

“I think if someone really focuses on being financially stable and working hard toward their financial goals, that motivation can also work with their motivation in their recovery journey as well,” Sara said. “Having the tools to be financially successful eliminates the stress that is often a crutch to making decisions that are not favorable to their future.”