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How LAFCU's Essay Contest is Helping Michiganders with Debt Repayment

pathLAFCU continues transforming lives by offering Michigan residents opportunities to reflect on current financial behaviors and create tangible ways to build financial stability. The Lansing-based credit union awarded $10K to the four winners of its 2023 Pathway to Financial Transformation Essay Contest during a check presentation at its headquarters in Lansing.

Two of this year’s essay winners, Cyrene Irelan of Jackson, and Elizabeth Ronning of Lansing, were recent graduates of the 2022-2023 LAFCU Pathway to Financial Transformation cohort, a free, comprehensive personal finance course that spans eight months.

Irelan and Ronning submitted their essays after successfully completing the award-winning Pathway to Financial Transformation course, which is structured similarly to a college course and covers topics critical for financial stability.

Enrollment for the 2023-2024 Pathway to Financial Transformation cohort is open to the public. To enroll, visit lafcu.com/pathway by Sept. 8.

Irelan and Ronning, along with the two other 2023 Pathway to Financial Transformation Essay Contest winners, Caliyah Roberson of Grand Rapids and Alexys Jordal of DeWitt, were each awarded $2,500 after LAFCU selected their one-page, 500-word essays from nearly 100 submissions statewide. Their winning entries discussed their current financial situation and how they would use the money to pay down debt and work toward financial stability.

“My essay discussed my background and how I didn’t take the necessary time to focus on my finances when I was younger, but how that has since changed because I have a family now, and have recognized the importance of making good financial choices,” said Roberson.

LAFCU’s annual Pathway to Financial Transformation Essay Contest allows members and nonmembers to reflect on their current financial situation and think critically about how they would create a better financial life.

The funds awarded to the contest winners intend to aid in debt repayment, from credit cards to medical debt to monthly payments, to help improve their financial well-being.

“LAFCU loves to provide various opportunities for the community and all Michigan residents that allow for self-reflection, identifying certain financial behaviors, determining where they want to end up financially, and then figuring out a pathway to get there,” said Kelli Ellsworth Etchison, LAFCU chief marketing officer and chief diversity officer.

The 2024 Pathway to Financial Transformation Essay Contest will open next spring. Submission rules and guidelines are available online: lafcu.com/ptft.

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