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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: December 11, 2012


GEORGETOWN (Dec. 11, 2012) - Sussex County Council will partner with stand By Me, the statewide financial empowerment program, to offer free one-on-one financial coaching to the county's nearly 500 employees beginning early next year. Also in January, free financial coaching for the public will begin being offered through stand By Me at the county's public libraries.

"The County is excited to partner with stand By Me to offer this type of financial coaching to both our employees and the public - free of charge," County Administrator Todd F. Lawson said. "From buying a house to balancing a checkbook, financial literacy is an essential skill for any citizen. In tough economic times like these, what better way to help people than to give them the tools to help themselves improve their financial standing?"

Sussex County Department of Libraries Director Kathy Graybeal said the program will add to the multitude of materials, services and programs already provided by local public libraries.

"Libraries today are so much more than just books. They're media centers, they're job centers, they're resource centers for the entire community," Graybeal said. "The stand By Me program will give the public one more reason to get inside their local library, whether it's to check out the latest adventure novel, take part in a children's story time, surf the Internet, apply for a job, or get help with a resume. Libraries truly are the center of a community. They're places to expand our knowledge and enrich our lives."

Since it began in June 2011, stand By Me - a joint project between the State of Delaware and the United Way of Delaware - has provided free financial coaching and a toolkit to navigate financial challenges to more than 2,000 Delawareans. Stand By Me provides financially vulnerable low- and moderate-income Delawareans with one-on-one financial coaching at workplaces, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations and government agencies.

The first financial empowerment center was launched at the Hudson State Service Center in Newark in May 2011. Since then, stand By Me's services have expanded to include the Wilmington and Stanton campuses of Delaware Technical and Community College, West End Neighborhood House and the Claymont Community Center. stand By Me financial coaches also are available on-site at employer locations in all three counties, including the ShopRite Supermarkets, the Christiana Hilton, Walgreens, Delaware Department of Health and Social Services and Dover Downs Hotel and Casino.

In Sussex County, Stand By Me's nonprofit partner will be the Bridgeville location of Goodwill of Delaware and Delaware County.

In addition to financial coaching at workplaces, stand By Me also helps individuals and families to navigate the complex world of college and financial aid applications; provides access to consumer-friendly alternatives to pay-day loans and check cashing stores; offers assistance with requesting and interpreting credit scores; and provides financial planning to help individuals increase their own economic security.

Financial empowerment is a priority of Gov. Jack Markell, who embraces economic security for Delawareans as a core element of his economic development strategy.

"We are very excited about bringing this important program to Sussex County in partnership with County Council, the public libraries, local businesses and nonprofits," said Mary Dupont, Director of Financial Empowerment for the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services. "It is important to meet people where they are to make these services easy to access and user-friendly."

DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf, who pushed for financial coaches to serve her department's employees in all three counties, sees the need for financial empowerment across the state.

"Stand By Me's message of economic self-sufficiency is a critical part of our mission at the Department of Health and Social Services," Landgraf said. "For many individuals, no matter their status, they need to hear the supportive message from a financial coach that will empower them to take charge of their financial future."

For more information about stand By Me, go to or contact Mary Dupont at (302) 255-9245 or

For more information about Sussex County Government, go to , or contact Chip Guy at (302) 854-5000.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.