All Diocesan Articles

Wellness in the Wallet: Catholic Charities Financial Empowerment Program

Posted on May 03, 2023 in: Events, Catholic Charities News, Around the Diocese

Wellness in the Wallet: Catholic Charities Financial Empowerment Program

Catholic Charities Financial Empowerment Workshop

Next workshop:

When: Monday, May 8, 2023 9am-12pm and 1pm to 4pm

Where:Catholic Charities Norwich Office, 331 Main St

All are welcome!

Meeting to share stories about paying bills and avoiding identity frauds and scams is usually not a happy time. However, recently at Catholic Charities Norwich Office, participants vied with one another to share their monetary success stories. They were among the women and men who have already completed the Financial Empowerment Program in the Diocese of Norwich since January. The goal is to equip participants with the financial know-how to secure stable and more confident futures.

Free to participants of low to moderate income, the Financial Empowerment Program, was designed by Catholic Charities USA in partnership with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to cultivate financial wellness to people served by Catholic Charities. More sessions are planned in areas served by Catholic Charities.

This writer attended the last of three, 3-hour morning monthly sessions for Spanish-speaking adults. A final afternoon session took place for English-speakers.

Keyla Santos, Program Director and Caseworker, explained that facilitator training sessions for caseworkers, staff, and volunteers follow the program provided by Catholic Charities USA.

“Our purpose,” Ms. Santos noted, “is to help people who come to us to become self-sufficient and independent. The three sessions provide the basic skills to improve financial wellness in daily living: saving, budgeting, tackling debt.”

The first session teaches Basic Budgeting Skills: Keeping a record of all expenses for one month and beyond, creating a family budget and following the budget. The second session focuses on Basic Budgeting Objectives: Opening and maintaining a checking account, developing a savings plan and opening and maintaining a savings account, identifying strategies to curb impulse spending. The third session encourages the daily use of Basic Consumer Skills: Developing a meal plan with a menu and shopping list, ways to save at the grocery store, identifying the difference between wants versus needs and developing strategies to curb impulse spending.

Jack Babbitt was the facilitator for this session. He was Director of Information Technology at UConn Storrs. He is a past member of Catholic Charities Board of Directors and has served for several years as the ever-persistent Grant Writer. Last year, he attended a meeting of Catholic Charities USA and returned with the Catholic Charities Financial Empowerment Program.

Mr. Babbitt explained, “I would like to see this Financial Program offered throughout the Diocese of Norwich, including teenagers and senior citizens who are often the victims of money scams. The Program was recently completed in Groton’s Branford Manor.

Four participants in the Norwich sessions enthusiastically agreed to share their experiences for this article.

Adaligiza Estevez explained, “This is a powerful program and I thank Catholic Charities for it. I wish I had this experience years ago so I could have told my daughter how to control her finances. I hope this

program can be expanded to help all of us form a better life. I would love to see a Support Group formed to help us continue on this positive way of life.”

Alba Starr related that she was on a fixed income and felt she had no control over her finances, even after working. “I learned to track my expenses, get rid of credit cards and paid off the interest on them. For the past two months, I am putting money into savings instead of taking it out. I am happy I came.”

Annie Bautista exclaimed, “I loved the program. I learned to track expenses and to control my spending. I had boxes and boxes of items that I had collected and no longer needed. Now I have control of my finances.”

“This program changed my life”, added Maria Echevaria, “and not just about money”. She added, “The presentations enabled me to see how I could take charge of my finances and out of the darkness of being powerless.”

Mr. Babbitt concluded the session following applause from participants saying, “Money does not buy happiness, but it does influence our perception of happiness and our potential for success. When we are in control of our finances that make up a large part of our lives, our lives and those around us are enriched with our mental, physical and spiritual well-being.”

The next Financial Empowerment Workshop will be May 8, 2023, at the Catholic Charities Norwich Office, 331 Main St. The first workshop group is from 9 a.m.-Noon. The second workshop group will be held from 1 p.m-4 p.m.

Individuals and families of low to moderate income are invited to enroll in the Catholic Charities Financial Empowerment Program by calling 860-889-8346 or emailing Catholic Charities Program Director Keyla Santos at

By Jacqueline M. Keller, Catholic Charities Board Member

Most Viewed Articles of the Last 30 Days

Calendar of Events

Posted on July 07, 2024 in: Events, Around the Diocese


Annual Blessing of the Fleet Returns to Stonington Borough
As Stonington has done for over 60 years, the St. Mary community will celebrate the annual Blessing of the Fleet. This is to honor present and past commercial fishermen, lobstermen and their families. The traditional celebration returns this year. THURSDAY, July 25 at 6 p.m.: The 2024 Blessing of the Fleet 5K Race is an in-person timed race through historic Stonington Borough. The certified course starts and ends at the Town Dock, 1 High Street, Stonington. You can also choose to register for a non-competitive 2-mile walk. Register today:

Read More

Healing Masses -Suspended Until Further Notice
The monthly Healing Masses that take place every third Sunday of the month at Holy Family Church in Hebron/Amston, are suspended until further notice, due to circumstances beyond our control. We apologize for any inconvenience. -Office of Faith Events

Read More

Knights Honor Catholic Charities with McGivney Award
Catholic Charities Diocese of Norwich, Inc. received the Blessed Michael McGivney Award at the annual banquet of the Connecticut State Council of the Knights of Columbus March 24, 2024, at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville, CT. In presenting the Award, State Deputy Joseph C. Rahtelli stated, “The Blessed McGivney Award recognizes individuals and organizations who have made significant humanitarian, civic and social contributions to their state, church and country.” Accepting the Award was Jack Babbitt, Chief Operating Officer of Catholic Charities Dio...

Read More

Norwich  Catholic Charities Celebrates Community History Project
"Never to be forgotten" was the goal of Kathleen Capon when she responded to the Connecticut History Project March 10, 2022. The Hartford-based Connecticut Museum of Culture and History launched the Connecticut History Project to document and preserve CO-VID19 Pandemic stories from marginalized and key underrepresented populations. One hundred years previously, historical archives were sparse about the diverse and inclusive representation of the 1918 Influenza, called the Spanish Flu. Otis Library on Main St. in Norwich was one of the three Connecticut librarie...

Read More

Catholic Charities Visits Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut’s New Innovation Center 
Kathy Capon, Norwich Diocesan Catholic Charities Board member, and Yahaira Gonzalez, New London Office Case Worker, visited the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut’s new Innovation Center on Eugene O’Neil Drive in New London, July 11, 2024. Mrs. Capon invited Erica Benvenuti from the Community Nutrition Program Education Office at UCONN to provide a presentation between the two agencies. Catholic Charities provided information regarding client services and educational programs. These included:  The Financial Empowerment Program, SNAP applications ...

Read More

Annual Catholic Appeal





Recently Added Galleries
Click to view album: Mass of Ordination for Fr. Eric Carl Hosmer, Fr. Julian Felipe Cuervo-Lozada and Fr. Alexander James Pandolfe
Click to view album: Norwich Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (NDCCW) 46th Annual Layette
Click to view album: Nativity photos
Click to view album: Archbishop Kevin S. Randall - Episcopal Ordination, Nov. 4, 2023
Signup for Weekly Newsletter


    Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich
    201 Broadway
    Norwich, CT 06360-4328
    Phone: 860-887-9294