What is the purpose of the project? The purpose of the project is to improve financial literacy among both children and adults in underserved communities in Philadelphia through presentations, question-and-answer sessions, and one-on-one counseling. The underlying principle of why we do what we do is that there is a lot of information asymmetry when it comes to people’s basic financial decisions. For people who don’t grow up having access to this information, it’s difficult to know what the right choices are, and decisions made at the beginning of adulthood can affect the rest of your life. We want to give information to people to both make informed decisions and improve their financial well-being throughout their lives.
Who does your project work with (what kind of clients? What organizations?) We work with schools throughout Philadelphia (especially in North and West Philadelphia), in addition to community centers and nonprofit organizations like the People’s Emergency Center and Community Legal Services.
What is the general time commitment expected of each volunteer? As much as you like! After attending an initial training with a mock presentation, we have people sign up for different events, and the group may meet before the event for event-specific training. There is no minimum amount of participation, and you can sign up for as many events as you like, provided that there is room.
What skills will volunteers gain by taking part in this project? Volunteers will learn more about financial literacy topics relevant to primary school students (spending/saving, credit scores, loans, saving for college) as well as particular economic challenges faced by underserved adult Philadelphians.
What do you love about this project and what have you learned from it? It is incredibly rewarding when students are really engaged in the topic or when we’re able to assist people with their specific problems. In addition, working on FLP has helped crystallize, for me, the role of generational wealth in societal inequality. Information about banks, mortgages, loans, etc. is not usually taught as part of school curriculums and is difficult to parse without assistance, making it difficult for students and adults alike to make sound financial choices without outside assistance. It is incredibly rewarding to be part of breaking that information barrier and to help create more informed consumers.
| Sophia Yan
| Ben Barocas