Consumer Action and Capital One Bank host financial literacy training in Austin

Community organizations from the Austin and San Antonio regions in Texas learn best practices and receive MoneyWi$e tools and information to better serve their clients.
Published: Tuesday, March 03, 2009

More than fifty organizations from Texas gathered in Austin to participate in a daylong financial literacy train-the trainer regional meeting hosted by Consumer Action and Capital One Bank. The training offered agencies a unique opportunity to network, share best practices around financial literacy and obtain new and updated information on the national MoneyWi$e program and the free resources available to non-profit agencies.

After a warm welcome from Consumer Action’s Director of Outreach and Training, Mikael Wagner, guest speaker Carole Thorpe, Outreach Coordinator for Texas Legal Services Center (TLSC), provided an overview of I-CAN!, a free, electronic tax-filing service available to Texas residents. Thorpe encouraged attendees to partner with TLSC to promote this easy way to file taxes online. She emphasized that I-CAN! helps consumers save money and claim credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. 

To provide a visual guide to the many online resources offered by MoneyWi$e, Consumer Action’s Sol Carbonell took participants on a virtual tour of the website, including the new interactive financial literacy modules that allow users to hear stories, create their own budgets, read letters with suggestions and download worksheets. With their eyes fixed on the big screen, participants listened attentively to one of the sample cases in which a teenager asks her parents for money to buy tickets to a concert after depleting her bank account. “These interactive online MoneyWi$e modules can be used by individual consumers or by agencies in a workshop or classroom setting,” explained Carbonell.

The MoneyWi$e materials are intended for an adult audience. “As a teacher of adults and a MoneyWi$e instructor, you must be flexible, understanding, humorous, patient and prepared,” said Bert Davis, Senior Associate of National Volunteerism at Capital One. Davis has more than ten years of teaching and training experience and has taught the MoneyWi$e curriculum as a volunteer in community organizations and schools in Richmond, VA, and across the country. He offered tips and best practices on Teaching to Adults.

Training attendees serve a wide variety of populations, including immigrants, seniors, homeowners and young parents, among others. During the expectations activity, they shared their need for resources to educate consumers on how to avoid losing their homes to foreclosure, how to rebuild their credit and finances to get out of the cycle of poverty and how to recover from identify theft from family members. Consumer Action’s Outreach and Training team came prepared with tools and information to address these issues and help agencies better assist their clients.

Starting with Money Management and moving on to Good Credit and Rebuilding Good Credit, Consumer Action staff offered a step-by-step guide for agencies on how to successfully conduct presentations on each of the modules. Trainers guided participants through the topics, concepts and ideas that are addressed in the MoneyWi$e materials and offered instruction on how to utilize the activities to reinforce and teach good money management skills to their clients. Consumer Action’s Nelson Santiago posed thought-provoking questions to attendees and provided agencies with additional websites and local resources to better prepare them for presentations.

After the training, Dr. Reginal Harris from Empowerment Seminars in San Antonio, said, “I feel better equipped with knowledge and information that will help the youth in our community begin to reach their personal and financial goals.”




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