Do you remember how and when you first became informed about personal finances? I was roughly fifteen years old when I was taught how to write a check. Fortunately for me, I have parents who helped teach me such vital life skills, but the foster teens at The Children’s Community Programs of CT do not. These kids must rely on alternative assistance to obtain the same information that most of us learned from our parents, but how? Connex is the answer. As the VP of Unbanking at Connex Credit Union, I was asked to design and facilitate a program of my choice. I chose to dedicate my time informing foster teens about financial literacy because foster care is a system that is especially important to me as someone close to me grew up in foster care, and explained to me that they did not have anyone willing to explain the significance of financial well-being to them. Therefore, in an effort to create opportunity for these young individuals, I wanted to share the financial knowledge that I have acquired from my time as the VP of Unbanking here at Connex with those who are not fortunate enough to have the resources and support that I’ve had in my life.
In the presentation, I discussed the benefits of credit unions and other financial institutions, savings accounts vs. checking accounts, how to write a check, the difference between debit and credit cards, and how to open an account. Some individuals currently have an account, and still benefitted from the information that was presented to them.
Overall, my effort to inform these individuals about financial well-being was a success. There was one boy who was highly interested in the material, asked for a business card, and expressed his desire to come into Connex and learn more about what we could offer and teach him. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to not only teach these teens about finances, but learn from them as well. Their lives, although seemingly similar to the stories told to me by other people who have grown up in the foster care system, are on a level that I have never been exposed to before, and I was fortunate to have been able to inform them and contribute positively to their lives.