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It’s been six years since Interfaith Works volunteer and banking expert Michael Richardson began teaching a financial literacy class for Interfaith Works’ vocational services program. Michael, who has had a long career in community lending and outreach for Mid-Atlantic Federal Credit Union (MAFCU), has devoted many hours to advising job-seekers enrolled in Interfaith Works’ job-readiness series of classes.

Sadly, Michael will be leaving this volunteer position to enjoy retirement. But because Michael is someone who always takes care of business, he has lined up replacement MAFCU colleague K.C. Cole to step into shoes that she says will be hard to fill.
Michael Richardson is handing off to colleague K.C. Cole.

On his final day of teaching the financial literacy class, one of Michael’s key messages was, “If it’s not in your budget, don’t buy it!”

That message resonated with Janet, a member of the class who currently resides in a shelter with her young son. She is feeling positive these days: thanks to the vocational program, she is considering two job offers. But as Janet explained with great emotion, making poor financial choices was a key factor in her becoming homeless. Now, she said, “I want to balance my life and move forward.”

Michael said he feels it is essential to arm vulnerable people with information to make good financial decisions. “When they become aware of the traps and pitfalls that are trying to get their attention and hard-earned money, they are better prepared and can make more informed decisions to avoid mistakes that we all have made, learning the hard way.”

Reflecting on the years of sharing his wisdom, Michael said, “I am amazed by the interaction that every class — and I mean EVERY class — has produced each time we have been together.” He added, “I can tell that every student has hope — hope to make a better life for themselves and their families through the tools that the job readiness program has taken the time to invest in them.”

Michael’s participation in nearly every Job Readiness series held to date has been invaluable, said Carolyn Johnson, Interfaith Works vocational services program director. “His presentations are always engaging, filled with real-life examples, and often sprinkled with humor. Michael has made a lasting impression on the students in our Job Readiness program over the years.”

To learn more about the vocational services program, go to our vocational services website page.