Spreading the Good Word About Money School
This blog was written by Valentina Connell, one of our summer research interns:
On July 30th, AIER held a daylong event to teach direct service providers how to implement Money School within their organizations.
Money School is a program that equips survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault with the financial literacy tools they need to become competent with knowledge, confident in their financial decisions, and connected within networks. AIER joined forces with the Elizabeth Freeman Center of Pittsfield to develop the curriculum and deliver three cycles of the program to 40 women in the last 10 months.
Now, we are hoping that more organizations will take the lead in offering this unique and effective program.
Last month, 30 service providers attended the Train-the-Trainers Workshop, from over 20 different organizations, coalitions, and task forces. Those in attendance included representatives of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Economic Security Task Force, the Elizabeth Freeman Center, YWCA, Safe Passage, UMass’s Center for Women and Community, and Community Legal Aid.
The workshop covered the curriculum’s content, teaching strategies, organizational details, evaluation, and recruiting participants. AIER distributed over 700 Money School Facilitator Guides and Participant Workbooks to the service providers, to be used in implementing the program for their clients.
Responses to Money School
The Train-the-Trainers Workshop attendees were excited to implement Money School for their clients. Many of these attendees used their time together to network and learn more about other direct service organizations. They remarked that nonprofit organizations like theirs often lack funding, resources, and connections to community services. Additionally, they often do not have financial literacy programs in place. Organizations said they could overcome these obstacles by forming partnerships with each other to implement Money School.
One attendee wrote, “Collaboration is important (because) of the need to share resources,” and another said that it is important to know “what is out there” in terms of direct services and personnel.
The attendees proposed working with colleges, banks, credit unions, and even the Massachusetts state treasurer’s office to implement Money School.
Money School in the Future
Eight organizations have already shared their plans for using Money School in the next two years. They plan to facilitate Money School lessons on their own, create partnerships with other organizations, incorporate Money School into other existing programs, share Money School with their partners, or refer their clients to workshops.
The Elizabeth Freeman Center, which offered Money School with AIER earlier this year, plans to start its fourth cycle of the program this winter. Montague Catholic Social Ministries of Turners Falls plans to incorporate the curriculum into one of its own programs, and the Department of Public Health will encourage partner agencies to offer Money School.
AIER will continue to communicate with these organizations.
It has been an incredible experience for me to work on Money School during these past two summers, and I am excited to see it reach greater populations in greater geographical areas!