Centier Bank recently presented a $1,000 community donation to Stepping Stone Shelter for Women—the only domestic violence shelter serving women in La Porte County. On a Sept. 30 broadcast centered around financial abuse, Centier Bank’s Financial Education Ambassador Mike Bober surprised the show’s guest, Deb Varnak Interim Executive Director of Stepping Stone Shelter for Women, with the donation.
Each month, Bober hosts a financial education-centered segment on 95.1 FM AM/1420 WIMS. With Domestic Violence Awareness Month being in October, Bober felt it was a topic that Centier Bank and community organizations should bring to light.
“Obviously domestic violence or financial abuse is a pretty impactful topic. I think everybody either knows someone who has gone through it or has gone through it themselves,” Bober explained. “I was approached by Centier’s Financial Education Coordinator, Lauren Zurbriggen about having this discussion. We all had a very real, raw, and informative conversation on the air, which drew in a lot of listeners.”
Zurbriggen’s background is in community outreach, specifically at domestic violence organizations. She also teaches weekly financial empowerment classes at the Crown Point-based St. Jude House. Zurbriggen said she was excited to bring together her two passions for this special broadcast.
“I don’t think people realize or recognize that financial abuse is a form of domestic violence,” Zurbriggen said. “Financial abuse is a common tactic that’s often used by abusers in an unhealthy relationship to gain power and control over their spouse or victim. This is very powerful because it can be detrimental to someone’s ability to provide for themselves and it can really impact their financial future negatively.”
Varnak shared information about Stepping Stone Shelter for Women on the air, to help spread awareness for those in need. Donations help fund the shelter services, provide meals, and keep their programs going.
“Stepping Stone is a safe place,” Varnak explained. “We’re not just a shelter—we have programs to help with credit repair, helping clients establish documents, and we aid in helping women rebuild their lives in the wake of abuse or a similar trauma.”
Bober said the group plans on continuing the conversation about financial abuse on some upcoming shows on WIMS. Watch the full broadcast by clicking here.
For information about Domestic Violence, to get immediate help or to report an incident, go to thehotline.org. For more information on Stepping Stone Shelter for Women, go to steppingstoneshelter.org, call 800-799-7233, text START to 88788. For more information on Centier Bank, visit centier.com/.