From her over 6 years serving as a financial counselor at the Lansing Financial Empowerment Center (FEC), Sonia knows how important this service is to her community. “Everybody has financial difficulties,” Sonia said, “everybody has some type of financial crisis that they need to solve.”

As a counselor, Sonia has helped clients with a variety of challenges, and finds joy in each of her clients’ achievements.

“The rewarding part is when they come to me and say ‘I have reached my financial goals, and I am in a better situation,'” she said.

Such achievements do not go unnoticed in Lansing. “First of all, we [financial counselors] have to celebrate you,” Sonia explained, adding that the office has a theme song for such occasions.

One client came to Sonia for help upon leaving prison after 22 years, with “no I.D., no Social Security, nothing – and no income,” Sonia explained. After working together through the FEC, “he now has a bank account, a car, is purchasing a house, has a great credit score, and has his own business,” said Sonia. “And he checks in every month to let me know, ‘Hey, I’m still doing good.’ I’m very, very proud of him.”