Introducing Beyond the Bank 2013

By LIFT on March 25, 2013

Categories: Our Work

LIFT-LA has partnered with USC, the Capital Group and the Right Way Foundation to bring our community the Beyond the Bank program!

Our partners at the Right Way Foundation (a nonprofit organization  that focuses on revolutionizing the delivery of career development services to the Transitional Age Youth [TAY] community) facilitates workshops for the TAY community on a weekly basis. After working with the Right Way Foundation, LIFT-LA wanted to help their TAY community members by providing classes that will help them in their adult lives.

The Joint Educational Project (JEP) at USC allows its undergraduate students to volunteer hours at a nonprofit organization and share their talents with the community. These talents are wide in range from helping an organization with their social media campaigns, functioning as a tutor for low-income students or even teach a class. The JEP program has been supplying interns to LIFT-LA since our opening, and we wanted engage their undergraduates a bit more in our community. LIFT-LA saw the TAY community at the Right Way Foundation as the perfect population for the JEP students to teach. Also we saw it as a way for LIFT-LA to continue the conversation after the program ended. Ideally, the TAY community members would learn about finances from the JEP students, and then allow LIFT-LA to help them put their financial plans into action. This could be anything from saving for a car or school, opening up a savings account or even apply for 0% interest loans.

Also, we reached out to a LIFT-Boston Alumnus, Stephen Shelton, who is now working with the Capital Group here in Los Angeles. Stephen was so impacted with the work he accomplished at LIFT-Boston that he wanted to maintain his involvement with our organization. When he found out LIFT opened up an office in LA he wanted to connect his company with us, and we saw this as the perfect opportunity to utilize Financial Experts for this course. We have a couple of Financial Experts from the Capital group attend each class with us so they can answer any questions the undergraduates cannot. These detailed questions can be something like, “What is the difference between a savings account at a National bank and a savings account with an online-only bank?” The undergraduates might have some difficulties answering technical questions, but thankfully these Financial Experts from the Capital Group can help them out when these questions come up.

With the JEP students ready to teach and our Financial Experts in place, we were ready to launch our first financial literacy class!

The USC undergraduates were a bit nervous at the beginning of the class, especially since this is a first teaching experience for most of them. As the class went on the Transitional Aged Youth expressed certain interests and asked various questions, which made the class discussions very lively! The undergraduates relaxed a bit more and the rest of the lesson plan went smoothly (especially with the Financial Experts there to help field specific questions the undergraduates could not answer). What was an unexpected bonus was the opportunity for these two very different groups of young adults to come together and exchange ideas. Many members of the TAY community have faced difficult life circumstances, and we see this class as a way to bridge these two groups of young adults and share their cultural experiences.

Overall, the first day of class was a success!

Three days after the class one of the Transitional Age Youth participants came to the LIFT office. He said he was so grateful for the opportunity to learn about banks because he had no idea how those systems worked. He knows how important this information is in his life, and was grateful for the opportunity to learn. He later started inquiring about about LIFT-LA’s services. After telling him we are a community resource center that connects clients to various resources all the while having a designated volunteer advocate, he wanted to set up a first appointment. He said he wants to surround himself with positive mentors and set long-term goals. He was so excited to be a part of LIFT that he soon brought his girlfriend to the office so she can set up an appointment as well (she is also a Transitional Aged Youth and a participant in the Beyond the Bank series).

With these four organizations coming together for this special Beyond the Bank program, we are providing a service to a specific population that, unfortunately, often fall through the cracks of our society. Thank you so much to the Capital Group, the Right Way Foundation and the USC JEP program! Here’s to many more classes and many more opportunities for our communities!

Check out a pic from the first class!