An interesting day is ahead for area residents 55 and over. On Friday, April 20, the Center for Lifelong Learning at Northwest State Community College is hosting a one-day seminar called “Thieves in the Neighborhood.” Those thieves don’t wear masks and lurk in the darkness. They are in plain sight in our communities behind signs on storefronts that say, “Payday Loans,” “Buy Here, Pay Here,” and things like “Title Loans.” Sadly, the people who can least afford those readily-available, high-interest loans are lured into the neighborhood stores because they are short of cash.
It’s a vicious cycle and unless you’ve been trapped in it, or know someone who has, it is hard to comprehend the problem. This day will open windows of understanding of how the trap works.
Registration and coffee will open at 8:30 a.m. The session will begin promptly at 9:00 a.m. at the College for those who have pre-registered.
“We first need to understand the thinking of people who are ‘robbed’ in plain sight,” says the Center’s coordinator, Cecily Rohrs. Cecily has worked with people in poverty for over 25 years and often presents for audiences wanting to better serve neighbors in need.
For this one-day gathering, she will be offering an understanding of families who live in generational poverty. With those hallmarks in mind, participants will better understand why some members of our communities are such easy targets for the “thieves in the neighborhood.”
After lunch at the College, included in the $12 registration, participants will hear from Caren Bauer, director of New Home Development in Bryan. Caren has been a local warrior working on bringing legislation to address the problem created by predatory lending. She, too, works with people short of cash on a daily basis and sees the damage of the cycle of quick money made readily available.
The seminar will wrap up by 3:00 p.m. But before dismissal, Jessica Flores of Archbold is eager to bring her story of hope to the group. Not so very long ago, she was a struggling single mom. Today, she is a licensed social worker for Toledo Children’s Hospital. But in her own words, that was not always the case, “Most importantly, I can honestly tell people things can get better. Yes, hard work is imperative, but support is essential too.” Ms. Flores’ story of grit and determination will send participants on their way with new ideas on ways to help neighbors in need.
The registration deadline is Monday, April 16. To register, phone the College during business hours at 419.267.1312 and register with Lynn. She can take a credit card payment for the $12 fee or, once registered, participants can pay at the door. For further information, or to be on the Center’s mailing list to learn of other seminars and educational bus trips, phone coordinator Cecily Rohrs at 419.267.5502 or e-mail her at crohrs@NorthwestState.edu.