The Road to Financial Literacy

Connecting for Children & Families, Woonsocket, RI

Local nonprofit teaches Rhode Islanders about finance.

Writing a check: a skill many people take for granted, but one that can prove overwhelming for those who were never taught the basics of financial literacy.

Beyond writing checks, the fundamentals of financial literacy include budgeting, managing credit, and managing debt; important skills that when not internalized, carry long lasting consequences. “Not being finacially literate is often a contributing factor to generational poverty,” says Zoya Tseytlin, Director of Connecting for Children & Families’ Center for Financial Success.

With the support of a United Way of Rhode Island grant, Connecting for Children & Families (CCF) offers financial stability programs to families, individuals, and children at no cost.

Journey to Financial Success is a program that gauges each client’s level of financial literacy and creates an individualized teaching plan to meet their needs. The program’s financial coaches work with a wide range of income levels. Clients at the lower end of the spectrum learn basic skills, while those earning a family sustaining wage work to develop saving strategies. Specialists from partnering banks are brought in to assist higher-income clients with asset allocation and diversification.

Because children often learn poor money management habits from their parents, CFF teaches them the foundations of financial literacy through their Financial Beginnings program. According to Director Tseytlin, the program helps students connect school to real world applications: “It’s important for students to understand how learning math, reading, and social studies will help them make more informed life decisions later on.”

After learning the basics, it becomes easier to adopt healthier financial habits. CFF offers residents of Woonsocket, and other northern Rhode Island communities, the opportunity to become financially literate through education, training, and mentoring. Zoya believes in meeting people where they’re at — a philosophy evident in her department’s work and reflected in the lives she’s helped change.

By: Jason Boulay, UWRI, Communication Coordinator, Strategic Marketing & Communications