Giving is Contagious

“The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others” Albert Schweitzer

What else really matters?

This week our firm celebrated its fifth anniversary  Instead of drinking and overeating, a bunch of us went to work in a community garden.

The garden mainly benefits underprivileged children. Bringing them to a tranquil setting and teaching them about nutrition and the wonders of nature is never a bad thing.

We did our small share to help.

We are far from finished. One of our biggest goals is to bring much needed financial literacy into the classroom. Dina, Matt, and I can only do so much. We would like to let Next Gen Personal Finance do the rest. This terrific non-profit organization provides FREE lesson plans, curriculum, videos, and educational programs to teachers nationwide.

Our goal is to bring this program into every school we visit because it works. NGPF will be around long after we leave for the day.

Yanely Espinal is our contact in New York. She has an amazing background and an immensely popular  YouTube channel. If you don’t think this topic is a big deal, think again.

According to Yanely,

Last year, NGPF conducted a nationwide study of 13 million students across 11,000 high schools to find out how personal finance is being taught across America. The results showed that only 1 in 6 high schoolers attends a school with a personal finance requirement. When looking at schools in low-income communities, that number drops to 1 in 12!

Out of curiosity, I compared the findings of the NGPF study with the Census Bureau’s list of states ranked by poverty level. The results were just as concerning.

  1. Only one of the top 10 states in terms of the poverty level (Alabama) has a state mandate requiring high school students to take a semester-long personal finance course.
  2. Only one state (Oklahoma) had more than 5% of students attending high schools with a personal finance requirement. 
  3. On a positive note, two states on the list, Kentucky and Arkansas, recently passed legislation to increase access to financial education for their students.

While it’s encouraging to see some progress on the legislative front, we still clearly have a long way to go! Comparing these lists really made me wonder if the lack of access to financial education just reinforces inequities that exist in our society.  Now, I don’t believe that financial education alone will solve the income inequality issues in this country, but I know the climb up will be much more challenging without it. In my role at NGPF, I look forward to having an impact on improving this situation. 

As a young Latina who grew up just a few blocks away from multiple payday lenders and check cashing establishments, I feel a great responsibility to let others like me know how paying 29% interest on a loan can cripple your financial situation. My goal is to compel more people to dive into personal finance, not just for their sake and the sake of their families, but for the sake of our society.

In my new role as Director of Educational Outreach here at NGPF, I’ll be leading efforts to increase access to financial education in my hometown, NYC! I’ll be hosting student workshops at high schools in the 5 boroughs and greater NYC area. If you’re interested in having me speak to your students or want to share this opportunity with a teacher you know, here’s the link to our request form!


Giving is contagious.


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