In its final report in December, 2010, the Task Force on Financial Literacy defined financial literacy as having the knowledge, skills and confidence to make responsible financial decisions. In a time when personal finances are becoming more and more complex, financial literacy skills for our youth are critical, so why do we continue to lack engaging programming in this field, particularly for marginalized youth learners?
This project aimed to review, refine and redesign financial literacy programming for homeless and at-risk youth in order to equip them with the skills they need to obtain financial independence: a key for sustaining independent housing and reducing homelessness nationally. Upon the completion of a literature review and gap analysis, it became evident that the project needed to set the goal of developing a broader context for financial literacy education. The Toolkit that was subsequently created was able to achieve this goal by rebuilding the curriculum from the ground up. Through scrapping traditional curriculum and pedagogy and harnessing the youth voice, this Toolkit model was able to redesign financial literacy programming for youth at risk in an authentic and organic way. Through the use of experiential and activity-based learning, the content can change according to the needs of the individuals and context of the organization facilitating the modules. This is achieved through client-responsive teaching strategies. In addition, the leverage of the youth voice was essential to developing the content of the toolkit – it allowed the content to be relevant to the current financial realities homeless and at-risk youth are facing.
Researched, facilitated, and evaluated at Eva’s three shelter sites over the past year, the full Financial Literacy Toolkit is now available on this site which encompasses the research synopses, a set of six outcome-oriented modules that are free for anyone to download, evaluation templates, successes, challenges and recommendations for use.
I would like to extend a thank you to the administration, housing, programming and employment staff at Eva’s three sites for their continued support of the implementation and evaluation of this toolkit. Through their continued encouragement that residents attend workshops, the impact seen and measured was incredible. Most of all, however, I would like to thank the residents for their hard work, dedication and use of these modules. Without their avid participation and detailed evaluations, the toolkit may not have taken the shape it has. You are my inspiration!
I would also like to thank the TD Financial Literacy Fund for their grant to make this dream a possibility and to Prosper Canada for providing many of the resources used in the Toolkit in their Community Facilitator Toolbox.
Eva’s provides safe shelter, training, counselling, and a wide range of innovative programs and services to help homeless and at-risk youth reach their potential to lead productive, self-sufficient and healthy lives. With cutting-edge services, and distinctive programming, Eva’s offers a continuum of service not available anywhere else in Canada. Locally, Eva’s operates three unique shelters that accommodate 114 youth – aged 16-24 – each night. Nationally, Eva’s works to build innovative and long term solutions to end youth homelessness.
To work collaboratively with homeless and at-risk youth to help them reach their potential to lead productive, self-sufficient and healthy lives by providing safe shelter and a range of services, and to create long term solutions for homeless youth by developing and implementing proactive and progressive services.
Meaghan Brugha, Program Creator
Jamey Vella, Design & Layout – Anxiety Attack Designs
To request a hard copy version of the Facilitator Resource Binder and Activity Booklet, please contact us at [email protected]