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Innovative Connections
Resource Toolkit for July 2011
In This Issue
Tip of the Month: Manage Your Stress!
Online Financial Tools
Upcoming Financial Education
Free Training with Oregon Tradeswomen
Sign up for ACH
Product Highlight: Free Vision Care
For Our Borrowers
Quick Links
Upcoming Events
Financial HouseholResiliency Workshops


*Day 1: Saturday, July 23rd   

Part 1: Making Ends Meet, 10am-12pm

Part 2: Budgeting and Saving, 12:30pm-2:30pm


*Day 2: Saturday, July 30th 

Part 3: Hands-On Banking, 10am-12pm   

Part 4: Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit, 12:30pm-2:30pm


3rd Floor of the Lloyd Center Mall (near Nordstroms), 2011 Lloyd Center, Portland

 *For more info or to register go here


Free Estate Planning Workshop

*covers the basics: conservatorship, probate, powers of attorney, wills and living trusts. federal and state health care directives, guardianship,

 August, 15, Monday


SW Community Center, 6820 SW 45th Ave

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Summer, while enjoyable, can also be a busy time: kids are home, the days are longer and it's the end of the fiscal year which means a lot of community financial assistance has run out. It's natural to get stressed from time to time, but it's important to learn how to manage your stress. Staying organized with your finances is a major step towards managing stress. In this issue we supply you with some online budgeting tools and, if you're not into  sitting in front of a computer, come to our  next series of Financial Household Resiliency Workshops 


Another great way to decrease stress about the future is to increase your skill set. Check out this upcoming Oregon Tradeswomen opportunity here


We hope you are having a good summer with minimal stress!


Happy reading,

Innovative Changes

Tip of the Month: Manage Your Stress!tipofthemonth


* Send us your tips! Each month we will collect your innovative money management tips -- these could be about resourceful ways you've saved money, thrifty activities you enjoy, helpful 
insights into living on a tight budget, etc. We will enter these tips into a pool and if selected, your tip will be featured in the next Innovative Connections and you will win a $20.00 Fred Meyer gift card.* 

Stress is your body's natural response to changes and difficulties in life. A little stress is normal, but too much can have a negative impact on your life. Don't let stress get the best of you! Stress can be caused by many factors; among the most common are: work, poor health, emotional problems, relationships, family, money and major life changes.


Some signs that you may be overly stressed include: irritability, fatigue, sleeplessness, lack of focus, negativity, headaches, muscle tension, loss of appetite, overeating, depression, anxiety, stomach and intestinal issues and drug and alcohol abuse.


Managing and reducing stress can improve your health and your quality of life. The first step in managing your stress is finding the source.  If you don't know what's causing your stress, start a stress journal. Write down what stresses you out when it happens; this way you can easily identify your stressors.


Coping with stress:

        Avoid the situation: If you hate going to the grocery store on Monday evenings, could you go on the weekend? If you have too many responsibilities, could you learn to say no if you don't have the time to do something?

        Get enough sleep: You recover from stress while you're sleeping, so get some zzzs!

        Improve your time management and organization: Prioritize  your more important tasks, use lists or a planner to keep track of appointments and events, set up email or cell phone reminders for things you might forget.

        Eat a healthy diet: Eating right can help improve your mood.

        Exercise: Feeling stressed? Go for a walk or run!

        Relax: Take some time to breathe! Lie down for 10 minutes and focus on deep breathing.

        Yoga: Yoga combines exercise, relaxation, and meditation; these are all things that reduce stress.

        Talk about your stress: Keeping your emotions and feelings bottled up will only make the problem worse.

        Find a support group: Do you have a special circumstance that's causing your stress (illness, family situation, etc.)? Sharing this experience with others in the same situation can help manage your stress.

And finally:

        Make time to do something you enjoy: Read a book, see a movie, or spend time with a friend. Activities that make you happy will improve your day!


Community Resources

Multnomah County Department of Community & Family Services

24/7 Mental Health Call Center/Crisis Line

503-988-4888 or 1-800-716-9769


PSU Community Counseling Clinic

Portland State University



William Temple House - Counseling & Social Services

2023 NW Hoyt Street



YWCA Counseling Center

333 N Russell St. (at MLK)



Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) support groups: 


Bereavement Support Group (coping with loss)

Offered by Adventist Medical Center. To register call, 503-251-6192 ext. 5670.


Donation based or free yoga classes:


The Movement Center

1021 NE 33rd Ave.


*Community Yoga Classes - $5 per class, or what you can afford.


Yoga on Yamhill

124 SW Yamhill St.


*Donation based yoga studio.


The Bhakti Shop

2500 SE 26th Ave.


*Certain classes free or by donation.

Resources: Online Financial Toolsspecialmonth


Overwhelmed by bills and budgeting? Here are a few resources that might help:





Mint is a secure website that helps you organize and budget your money.  If you have online access to your checking, savings, credit card, or loan account, Mint will bring them all together in one place. Mint categorizes your expenses and uses colorful graphs and pie charts to illustrate how you spend your money. This makes it easy to find spending leaks!


SMS and Email alerts can keep you on top of your finances no matter where you are. Mint can alert you of:

-Low account balances (so you don't overdraw your accounts)

-Bank fees

-Going overbudget

-Unusual spending

-Upcoming bills (credit card, loan, etc.)





For bills that are not electronic (rent, electricity, cell phone, etc), billQ is a helpful tool. BillQ keeps a schedule of your recurring or one-time bills and reminds you when they're due by SMS or Email. BillQ also keeps a history of your past payments to help you budget for the future.  


These online tools reduce the stress of personal finance!

 Upcoming Financial Education: fined


It's not too late to sign up! We will be hosting our own Summer Financial Household Resiliency series, open to anyone, at the Lloyd Center starting this week! Here is the schedule:


Financial Household Resiliency Workshops: 


Day 1: Saturday, July 23   

Part 1: Making Ends Meet, 10am-12pm

Part 2: Budgeting and Saving, 12:30pm-2:30pm     


Day 2: Saturday, July 30 

Part 3: Hands-On Banking, 10am-12pm   

Part 4: Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit, 12:30pm-2:30pm 


Our classes and seminars will be held at our new location:  

3rd Floor of the Lloyd Center Mall (near Nordstroms), 2201 Lloyd Center, Portland


To Register: call or email Talia at (503)-943-5620/


The classes and seminars are $5 each or $15 for all four classes. Fee waivers are available for those who qualify. 


Free Training with Oregon Tradeswomen!baby


Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. (OTI) helps train women to begin high skill, high wage careers in construction. Their seven-week Trades and Apprenticeship Career Class is state certified and FREE! Since January, OTI has placed 70 women into construction careers and are currently recruiting for our August class.


OTI's next 7-week class starts August 30th and they will offer 5 classes in 2012. More information about the Trades and Apprenticeship Career Class can be found on our website (, but here are the basics about the class:


*     Class meets Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. -4:30p.m. and includes classroom training (including 5 hours of green job training), hands-on construction work, field trips, strength/fitness training, construction math and measurement, career counseling and placement assistance.


*      Information Sessions about what to expect from the class will be held on August 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th, and twice a month thereafter at the PCC Metro One Stop. Attending an information session is the first step to entering our class.


Call to sign up for the next info session at 503-335-8200 x 21 OR sign up online at:


We Can Now ACH Your Loan Payments! ach                             

On July 1st, 2011 we will have the ability to automatically

withdraw funds from your account to make your loan payment for you.This is called Automatic Clearing House (ACH) and is an electronic network that allows us to direct deposit your loan payments into our account. If you would like to sign up for this, please fill out the form on attached here and send or fax it back to us (please do not email for security reasons). ACH is a good idea if you have a bank account and a reliable balance in your account on your monthly loan due date. If this does not fit you, ACH is not the best option.  If you have any questions, as always, feel free to give us a call: 503-249-5205.

Product Highlight: Free Vision Care producthighlight                              

glassesIf you do not qualify for government aid or private health care assistance that covers the cost of routine eye or vision care, VISION USA can help. VISION USA provides basic eye health and vision care services free of charge to uninsured, low-income people and their families. VISION USA was established in 1991 by AOA doctors of optometry who donate their services.

VISION USA is open to children and adults. General eligibility requirements vary by state. To receive free services, you must:
  1. Have no vision insurance (this may include Medicare/Medicaid)
  2. Have income below an established level based on household size
  3. Not have had an eye exam within two years
  4. Must be a U.S. Citizen or Legal resident

If you or your family are eligible to receive services, you will be matched with a volunteer doctor of optometry who will provide a comprehensive eye exam at no charge. A contact lens exam and / or contacts are not available through this program. Eyewear may be provided at no cost or for a small fee/donation in some states. (Note: Doctors donate their services and may be limited in some areas.)


Click here to apply online and find out more about VSION USA. Or call or email them at: 

243 North Lindbergh Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63141
1-800-766-4466, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM, CST (M-F)
Fax: 314/991-4101

For Our Borrowers

Money treeAre You Receiving Your Payment Reminders?

If you chose to receive your payment reminders by email, make sure that they are coming to your inbox and not your junk mail. If you would like to change the way that you receive reminders (by mail, by email, or by phone call) let us know! Call Talia at  or Carmina at 503.249-5205.

How to Make Your Loan Payment
  • You can mail your payment by check or money order to: Innovative Changes, 4610 N. Trenton St., Portland, OR 97203
  • You can drop off your payment (check, money order or cash) at the New Columbia Opportunity Center Front Desk- Mon- Fri, 8am-5pm 
    • Please note the building is closed to the public during the lunch hour (12pm-1pm) and is occasionally closed on Fridays for State furlough days.   
    • The front desk person has envelopes and is authorized to collect payments on our behalf if we are not in. If you are paying in cash and need change, you must contact Sarah, Carmina or Talia in advance to arrange a meeting time.    
  • You can drop off your payment (check, money order or cash) at the Lloyd Center, 3rd Floor, Suite 2011 (2011 Lloyd Center Mall, Portland, OR 97232) Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm and Saturdays by appointment (call Carmina).             

We Are Here to Help!  


Are you having trouble making your payment this month, or afraid that it might be a little late? Let us know! We understand that unexpected events and expenses can make it hard to keep your finances on track, and Innovative Changes wants to be there for you in such cases. Innovative Changes is flexible and willing to work with our borrowers to satisfy loan obligations, and in return we ask for honest and timely communication. Remember, if you know your payment is going to be late, let us know ahead of time and we might be able to avoid charging a late fee, or sending out a late notice.