Financial Empowerment Roadshow Hits the Highway

Financial empowerment trainings have kicked off across the state due to a partnership between the Indiana Assets & Opportunity Network (IN A&O Network) and Indiana Legal Services, Inc. (ILS).  ILS and the IN A&O Network were accepted into the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s national cohort to deliver trainings on the toolkit, Your Money, Your Goals. The partnership is unique because it allows for networking and resource sharing between the social service sector and the legal aid sector.

An initial train-the-trainer took place in May to help 19 trainers feel confident with facilitating groups on the content. We continue to use these trainers to target areas they are located in to host Your Money, Your Goals trainings. It is important to connect people in the same region of the state to use one another as a resource moving forward.  Each training is facilitated by legal service staff and social service staff. By utilizing the expertise of both service sectors, an interesting collaboration takes place in the room.

Our first training was in early August, hosted by First Merchants Bank in Evansville, Indiana. Our facilitators were Donna Milam with Habitat for Humanity in Evansville, Maura Robinson with the Diversity and Inclusion Institute for Change, and Amanda Hall and Katherine Rybak with ILS. Since the toolkit is so comprehensive and interactive, each facilitator picked a couple of modules that they were comfortable with and trained the attendees. Although the audiences for our trainings have been primarily aimed toward social services staff and legal services staff, there is something for everyone - especially individuals interested in bringing financial empowerment to their communities and neighbors.

The toolkits are truly all-encompassing. They have interactive worksheets to help guide the reader through their own financial empowerment and provide the information and instructions necessary to assist clients with properly assessing their financial situation and building their assets. For example, the toolkits provide instructions on how to set goals and plan for large purchases, pay bills and other expenses, deal with debt, understand credit reports and scores, and choose the right financial products.

Feedback from individuals who have attended the trainings have been overwhelmingly positive and largely reflect the thoughts of Mark Sattler, former Director of Counseling & Addiction Services from Families First. He stated, “I just wanted to send a thank you to each of you for the great training, the sharing of the resources, and the wonderful food. The feedback from our staff has showed how valuable it was for them personally and professionally…I feel as though we are now much better equipped to assist [our clients] with this key area.”

There have been two additional trainings - in Indianapolis and Crown Point; and four others are on the way; in Fort Wayne, Huntingburg, and two more in Indianapolis. These trainings would not be possible without generous support from JPMorgan Chase Foundation.

If you’d like to learn more about the Your Money, Your Goals trainings or how to bring a training to your organization, please contact Kelan Fong at kfong@prosperityindiana.org.

To learn more about Your Money, Your Goals and to download the toolkits yourself, please visit http://www.consumerfinance.gov/your-money-your-goals/

To register for the August 29th training in Fort Wayne, please visit https://myiaced.org/event-2277166

To register for the October 3rd training in Huntingburg, please visit https://myiaced.org/event-2305124

To register for the October 26th training in Indianapolis, please visit https://myiaced.org/event-2318547