Liberty Financial Literacy director partners with local nonprofit to help men recovering from substance addiction plan for their futures
The strenuous weight of substance abuse recovery was made a little lighter for six men last week thanks to Dr. Stacie Rhodes, the executive director of the Center for Financial Literacy in Liberty University’s School of Business, who led a one-hour discussion on financial stability, budgeting, and the biblical approach to money.
“It was a very real conversation,” said Rhodes, who partnered with “Our Father’s House,” a local nonprofit that helps men confidently re-enter society following addiction recovery. “Ultimately, I wanted them to realize that they’re not alone and that there are no judgments. We are concerned about doing the next right thing.”
To establish comfort among the group, Rhodes conveyed personal experiences regarding addiction recovery within her own family, allowing her to connect with her subjects on a deeper level.
“Relatability is a huge thing, as well as personal stories,” she said. “I feel like sharing my personal story needed to be part of the conversation. I’m not looking at them from an academic setting. … I don’t want these men to look at a doctor from a university coming to them instructing them on what to do. My passion is to help those who are at the end of their rope.”
According to its mission statement, “Our Father’s House,” aims to provide a Christ-centered environment for men trying to get back on their feet. It goes beyond addiction recovery and housing assistance by also helping men sustain daily walks with God and providing weekly Bible studies and encouragement.
“Afterward, the men were glad Stacie came and are excited about coming to grips with their personal finances,” said Jeff Hodge, who serves as Our Father’s House director, secretary, treasurer, and Bible study leader. “One man has been very discouraged about his financial predicament for the past few weeks, and I heard a glimmer of hope in his voice as we talked about his situation after her presentation.”
Following the session, “Our Father’s House” leaders drafted a thank-you letter to Rhodes, saying they were impressed with her presentation and ability to connect with the participants.
“It was my sincere pleasure to have Stacie as a guest speaker at ‘Our Father’s House,’” Hodge said. “I was very impressed with Stacie’s amazing presentation — both by her skill as a presenter and instructor and in the resources she selected. Her comprehensive grasp of the material allowed the presentation to flow clearly.”
Rhodes normally mentors college students, but she said addressing the middle-aged men was equally fulfilling.
“Many times, my students aren’t faced with the gravity of their decisions,” she said. “These men have had life smack them in the face.”
“I wanted these men to realize that even though they’re in really difficult positions, there’s a lot of hope,” Rhodes added. “I’m proud of them for pursuing a better life and a more successful future, which involves financial goals and financial education. … I was fortunate enough to share what I love doing at Liberty and what our school is desiring to do for the community.”
Rhodes is collaborating with Hodge in preparation for another session on financial literacy at the nonprofit’s second location.
Liberty’s financial literacy program was recently voted in the top 50 best programs nationwide by LendEDU.