Financial Education Program Takes it to the Bank
IRC’s Financial Education Program has been helping families learn about the American financial systems and taught them to be better consumers. Whether they learn how to use banking products effectively or learn how credit will affect their lives here, families are empowered by the tools they gain from this program. Since 2004 the program has helped thousands of families create healthy financial habits.
Recently, the program design was overhauled to help all new arriving families with an intensive coursework of budgeting and banking classes as well as job readiness and interviewing skills. Additionally, the program assists participants in establishing financial relationships with banks and credit unions (to help avoid predatory pay-day loan and check-cashing establishments that target refugee and immigrant families). Family members learn about how to use a checking and savings account, how to manage a family budget, practice interviewing, and open a banking account. Volunteers help families by creating their family budget, conducting mock-interviews, and helping families implement their budget and banking products correctly.
In the first month of the program’s new design, 53 participants attended workshops and 40 families opened bank accounts. Thirteen volunteers helped throughout the month, offering one-on-one assistance to participants. In 2008, the program goal was to reach 240 participants and open 100 bank accounts; the new structure will enable those numbers to be doubled through 2010. Along with helping new families become empowered to manage their financial lives successfully, the program also has the potential to leverage federal funds.
By volunteering with the Financial Education Program, you’re not only helping new Americans navigate the tricky financial system, but your time also leverages federal money. Help new families and make a lasting impact on their journey toward self-sufficiency.
If you are interested helping new families through this program, please contact Nicky Walker, Volunteer Coordinator, at 602.433.2440 ext. 213 or nicolle.walker@theIRC.org.