[Hpn] Medford, MA - Co-op Bank teaches financial literacy to homeless - Medford Transcript - April 9, 2003

HC Covington HC Covington <hcc@icanamerica.org>
Thu, 10 Apr 2003 14:08:57 -0500

>From today's Homeless News.  It was a topic someone mentioned
last month.


Co-op Bank teaches financial literacy to homeless
By Seth D. Michaels - Medford Transcript - April 9, 2003

Medford, MA - Students and parents in Medford, Malden and other
communities are getting a boost in their financial fortunes thanks to
several programs offered by a local bank.

The Medford Cooperative Bank has operated a number of programs in
past months for area residents, teaching financial literacy to
everyone from second-grade students to homeless parents.

"We have a number of programs," said Lisa Paula McGinley, director of
training for the bank. "It's an ongoing series."

Callie Huff, director of marketing, said the programs offered
valuable information about the value of money and the choices

"It's great information, and it's completely free," she said.

The seminars have two primary thrusts: one aimed at students, and one
at adults.

"We've done a financial literacy program in Malden, at the Beebe and
Ferryway Schools," McGinley said. "These were held for second and
third graders. There were a number of different topics covered -
saving, spending, banking. We conducted a bank tour, and they got to
view the vault.

"We wanted to instill the importance of saving, because what you save
today becomes your dreams for tomorrow," she continued. "We had them
do role playing around financial issues - what does a teller do? What
does a loan officer do?

We talked about transactions. The program we worked with was called
'What Am I Saving for?'

The students earned and saved money towards an ice cream party and a
pizza party, so they learned the value of money."

The Co-op is also pursuing an internship program to work with an
older student, Charles Litopoulos.

"We have an intern now from Medford High School," McGinley said.
"He's working in our accounting department before he goes on to
attend business school this fall."

For adults, programs will help them develop financial skills and
instill those values in their own children.

"We just finished up a financial literacy project at the Family Life
Education Center, a Medford homeless shelter," McGinley said.

"It was a four-week session, and we're going to meet with again with
participants, many of whom are going out on their own. We based it on
the FDIC 'Money Smart' program.

A large portion was about budgeting, about fixed expenses versus
flexible expenses, and about changing their mindset from living
day-to-day to living for the future, and passing on that mindset to
their children.

We're going to run future sessions there when other families come

At the Ferryway School in Malden this past week, the bank hosted
parents of Kindergartners and first graders in the "Even Start"
program. As part of a group of programs, bank employees helped
introduce parents - many of whom were recent immigrants - to various
financial concepts.

"The program offers English as a Second Language, parenting classes,
pre-GED classes, and financial literacy," McGinley said. "They've
already asked us to come back for future sessions. We talked about
banking, and many people are interested in buying a home, so we
discussed borrowing and credit."

In May, the bank will host free workshops for first-time homebuyers.

"First-time homebuyers are often overwhelmed," Huff said. "We'll have
contractors, inspectors, and realtors speak with them about lending
programs and what to look for in a home. That's an important part of
financial literacy - what bigger purchase is there?"

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