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May 10, 2017

Father Focus: Leroy Kelly

Leroy Kelly is a 2016 graduate of the Midlands Fatherhood Coalition Fatherhood program.

Our Economic Stability Program helps participants learn the fundamentals of good financial management to support children and families, including creating a budget, establishing credit and managing money for a more secure future. The program has helped thousands of men regain their financial footing. 

Leroy Kelly is one of those men. He has been a part of the Midlands Fatherhood Coalition since 2015. In 2013, he started Delta Business Solutions, a residential painting business, with numerous service contracts throughout the Midlands. While building the business, Kelly found he needed help with structuring his personal finances and staying current with personal obligations, in particular, making his child support payments on time. The Economic Stability Program at Midlands Fatherhood Coalition provided the resources he needed.

We talked to Leroy about how he applies lessons learned from the program to his work and his life.

 

SCCFFHow did you become a part of the program at Midlands Fatherhood Coalition?

LK: I was slow in making child support payments. I was working and making small payments. So my driver's license was taken. That made it harder to make payments because I had trouble getting to work. I had to get people to drive for me. I had an arrearage and I was court ordered to attend the Midlands Fatherhood Coalition.

SCCFFDescribe your financial habits before and after the Economic Stability Program.

LK: My financial habits were [as far as paying child support] off and on. Midlands Fatherhood Coalition gave me support, changed my mindset. The accountability call they give you every week helped. They really have your back. They stepped in and it all went up and up. I got my license back and things started changing.  

SCCFFHow did the program help you?

LK: It helped me structure my overall life: dealing with people, family and business. You can apply it to every part of your life.

SCCFFWhat's the most important lesson you learned from the program?

LK: [I learned about] building credit, building financial relationships with the banks, getting advice from other business people.

SCCFFYou graduated from the program in July 2016. Why do you continue to participate in group sessions?

LK: I want to push other men to be better. We have a lack of that in society. Sometimes all it takes is a push from another guy. 

SCCFFWhat would you say to other men entering the Economic Stability Program to encourage them to make the most of the opportunity?

LK: Come with an open mind. Get a better understanding. It's important for us to be stable as men. Stop thinking [just about] right now. Always think ahead. Learn preventive measures. You can come back from a mistake or a situation. You can learn from your failures.

SCCFFWhat do you hope your financial legacy will be and what lessons will you pass on to your children?

LK:  I am praying my daughters will have an easier way of life than I had. A legacy is turning nothing into something. Learning freedom is our legacy. Never give up. Don't make financial decisions out of desperation. Ask questions. Understand that you will face difficult times, but they are temporary. Keep God first. That's the foundation. 

As a graduate of the program, Leroy believes in giving back. He continues to attend group sessions to encourage other dads to do their best, even putting some to work in his painting business. 

Once participants complete the Economic Stability Program, they are given a post-test to gauge what they have learned. They also take part in a completion ceremony where they receive a certificate acknowledging their efforts to achieve financial wellness, not just for themselves, but for their families as well. 

Last year, 431 participants across the state completed the Economic Stability Program.