MoneyWi$e goes to the Virginia peninsula

Published: Friday, August 28, 2009

The Virginia Peninsula hosts two MoneyWi$e roundtables. The MoneyWi$e Financial Education Program was developed by Consumer Action in partnership with Capital One Bank. There are 12 modules in the series, which you can view and download on the MoneyWi$e web site.

In an area rich in American colonial history, over 55 community-based organizations gathered to learn about financial management. The Virginia Peninsula, bounded by the York River, James River, Hampton Roads and Chesapeake Bay, was host to two MoneyWi$e roundtables in August, bringing together counselors, case managers, social workers, educators, librarians, and frontline advocates from area nonprofit and community agencies. Consumer Action, in collaboration with Peninsula Saves, the Virginia Cooperative Extension, and the Chesapeake United Way, presented a America Saves roundtable, held at the Tabb Library in Newport News, Virginia on August 13, as well as a financial literacy roundtable held at the Chesapeake Central Library in Chesapeake, Virginia on August 14. Capital One provides support for America Saves as well as supporting Consumer Action for the MoneyWi$e program. Both trainings, although slightly different, drew raves from participants and resulted in numerous requests for the renowned multilingual MoneyWi$e materials. Consumer Action Community Outreach Manager Linda J. Williams began each training by outlining training objectives for participants. Williams told participants her goals were to:
  • Introduce them to Consumer Action and the MoneyWi$e Financial Education Program
  • Teach them how to use the MoneyWi$e tool kit—curricula and activities to train their clients
  • Ensure that each of them is comfortable with the MoneyWi$e curriculum and would feel confident using the materials to conduct a training or educate their clients during individual sessions.
As Williams guided participants through each component of the Money Management, Building Good Credit and Rebuilding Credit sessions, she drew participants’ attention when one of the identified goals was achieved. Then she reviewed with them how she used the materials to accomplish the first goal of introducing them to Consumer Action and the MoneyWi$e Financial Education Program. Participants at both trainings gained hands-on experience with the MoneyWi$e tool kits as they used the modules to work through two popular activities, Can the Poor Be Taught to Save and Max Weiser. This activity accomplished the second goal of teaching the participants how to use the MoneyWi$e tool kit. Both activities promoted interaction between participants, as they broke into groups, pooled their knowledge and used the modules to solve the complex problems that far too often plague their clients. The Max Weiser activity required participants to create a five-year plan that would help the fictional “Max” rebuild his credit and put him on the road to self-sufficiency. As Williams approached the last module, Talking to Teens, a topic selected by the Newport News participants, she pointed out the third goal of the training: To ensure that every participant is comfortable with the MoneyWi$e curriculum and will feel confident using the materials to conduct a training. To reach this goal, Williams employed a fishbowl learning strategy, a teaching tool wherein participants become presenters. The group was divided into five teams and given a topic covered under the Talking to Teens module such as role models, banking, savings, credit, teen driving and cell phones. Williams gave participants 45 minutes to review the slides relevant to their selected section of the module, as well as the brochure, lesson plan, and activities. When the time was up, Williams told each team they had to present their section to the group outside of their team and guide the group through the activities relevant to their section. The Chesapeake participants selected Identity Theft as their final module. Williams informed those in the session that ID theft is the fastest growing white-collar crime in America. She explained the differences between a fraud alert and a credit freeze, noting that a fraud alert is a special message that’s placed on the credit report to tell credit issuers that the person has been a victim of fraud. While an alert may slow down an ID theft, Williams noted that the credit security freeze will stop the thief by making credit files off-limit to potential creditors, insurance companies and employers. Williams also outlined other ways to prevent ID Theft and provided participants with a list of valuable resources such as the Federal Trade Commission, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, the President’s ID Task Force, and Identity Theft Resource Center. Following the ID Theft presentation, participants played an interactive ID theft game and were pleased to learn that it was available for download on Consumer Action’s web site.
 
 
 

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