College and Financial Empowerment: Shifting Focus to Inspire

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Our mission here at IBA is to empower and engage individuals and families to improve their lives through our housing and programs. We know that as our community grows & changes, so must our programs; which is why we are re-introducing our College & Workforce Development (CWD) as College and Financial Empowerment (CFE).

CFE Director, Tiana Bonner, hopes to help individuals discover that “there is potential for developing assets no matter if you are in crisis mode or self sufficient, [our program] will benefit you and your family.”

By introducing this new name and creating new programming, we hope to make our services more clear and inspire confidence in those who utilize our program based on our three foundational components:

  1. Education
  2. College Bridging
  3. Coaching

Bonner explained that the new “Financial” portion of the program will be an extension of the Education & Coaching elements. “It is a well-rounded program that encompasses both academic pieces and how to acquire wealth – whether it be information, financial support, resources, [and/or] tools – we will help individuals make positive life changes that will also help them find sustainable income and as these opportunities increase for them, they will [also] know how to manage it,” said Bonner.

Bonner emphasized that “financial literacy” has always been a part of the program, but “it is more intense than before when we were just providing awareness. Now, we are nurturing that initial introduction and taking a more individualized approach, so our participants can take control and understand what financial health looks like.” She hopes all community members could benefit from the program, but added that individuals who are 18 years and older will benefit most because it provides support the necessary support you need when starting to handle your own finances.

“We want them to trust the banking system and feel comfortable and confident in what they are doing.” So, “Those [financial] overview [workshops] – like what is a credit report – will still be there for those who want it; but, then, our coaches will sit down with participants and look over their own credit report and coming up with a plan of how to rebuild and maintain their credit. We will check in with them to make sure they’re sticking to their plan and meeting their individual goals that we had set up with them.”

Bonner is excited to see how this shift can make an impact, “For individuals and families that come in, they can share their [experience] throughout the community.They will create a positive chain reaction because they’re sharing their knowledge with their own friends and families.” She went on to encourage individuals to even attend workshops on another’s behalf, such as parents who might want the information to share with their child.

If you would like to learn more about upcoming courses and workshops, follow us on Facebook & Twitter for updates.

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