Financial education for Boston’s youth

Financial education for Boston’s youth

One of our greatest strengths of IBA is our ability to understand the strengths and needs of the community we serve and develop intersectional programs to help our community thrive. Sometimes preschool children visit senior residents to do activities with them; the Arts Program organizes events for our residents, or in this case, the Financial Development Program designed specific workshops for the Youth Development Program.

The main goal of these workshops was to expose the youth to the basic financial education everyone needs—the difference is that they’re receiving it early in their lives. The goal is not for the participants to walk away with the knowledge to process a small business owner’s taxes but that when they hear APR (annual percentage rate), APY (annual percentage yield), interest, routing & account numbers (among many other terms), it won’t be their first time. Another goal is to get the youth interested enough to seek out the coaching services FEP provides so that we can work with them one-on-one.

During this 2022 Summer Cycle, and after meeting with the Youth Development Program, IBA’s Financial Empowerment Program developed workshops revolving on a theme relevant to youth, “Setting goals and using a budget to save and manage my money”. The workshops were structured with three interrelated components: first students were given an economic news article, followed by an interactive activity, and third a discussion of the key learning from the workshop. This last step is where facilitators would surprise the participants with how the planned activity—which sometimes seemed unrelated—was relevant to the lesson.

After careful analysis of the youth’s needs, the workshop topics developed for them were:

  • Intro to Financial Empowerment Program (FEP) -

During this workshop, the participants went through an introduction to FEP and its members, and they revisited IBA and the organization’s goals so that they could see where programs and participants fit into these goals. Then they calculated their expected income for the length of the cycle and considered what they would like to achieve with this income.

  • The Financial Freedom Map -

During this workshop, the youth played a make-shift game of monopoly, where they later compared performance to places owned. The key learning outcomes from this workshop were for participants to understand how home ownership and asset building are fundamental to wealth building in our society and the steps needed to accomplish this.

  • S.M.A.R.T. Goals -

In this workshop, the youth split into groups and participated in the marshmallow challenge (building the tallest structure with spaghetti and marshmallows). They received no direction, only a goal. We measured their results. Then they were given the best strategy to succeed and told to try again. This was used to teach that SMART goals are the equivalent of having direction in life rather than just being told the expected final result.

  • Budgeting -

During this workshop, the youth split into groups and received different financial scenarios. Teams had to debate whether an item was a need or a want. This activity’s goal was to show them how they ultimately must distinguish for themselves between needs and wants, and that budgeting (a SMART Goal product) can help organize spending.

  • Financial Products -

During this workshop, the youth split into groups and given the same scenario of being stranded on an island in the ocean with the same list of items they could use to problem solve.The purpose of this activity was to convey that financial products are the same, and using them correctly will help them succeed on the path to financial wellness.

  • Financial Empowerment Program Debrief -

During this final workshop, the youth split into groups. They had to research how to buy a car in Massachusetts and the necessary steps to make it road legal. When the time was up, we reviewed answers as a group. FEP ultimately discussed the research answers, connecting the steps to lessons learned throughout the summer.

Promoting and facilitating a better quality of life for those young Boston residents is a priority at IBA! Please click HERE to support our program. We can only do it with your help!