Financial Stability Course continues to evolve

Photo of David O’Toole, with the US Trade Commission, talking to the Financial Stability Group. On the left in the photo is the Sign Language Interpreter.
The latest group of students enrolled in Access Living’s Financial Stability Classes will soon be earning diplomas. The classes are scheduled to wrap up May 8. Access Living originally launched the program to equip low income people with disabilities with materials and tools to help them better manage and take control of their personal finances. The class has been a success. Speaking about his experience in the class, Willie Rolling, a staff associate at Access Living said, “I like how I gained a lot of wisdom about things that will benefit me in the future, like Mortgages, credit cards, and contracts.”

Organized and led by Access Living’s Carleda Johnson, the class continues to grow and evolve. During the latest eleven-week session, which started in February, the students followed the “Money Smart” Curriculum. An FDIC National Financial Education Curriculum, Money Smart is a comprehensive financial education curriculum designed to help low and moderate income individuals enhance their financial skills and create positive banking relationships. In addition to following the Money Smart Curriculum, Access Living also became a Community Partner in the BankOn Chicago Program. Established in 2011, Bank On Chicago is a cooperative effort that includes the City Treasurer’s Office, 12 local financial institutions, and 16 community partners. The program offers easy-to-access checking accounts for unbanked and under-banked individuals, another strong tool for low income people with disabilities.

The Financial Stability Class met once a week during the latest session. At a recent session about consumer protection laws, the group hosted David O’Toole, an Attorney with the US Federal Trade Commission, as a guest speaker. He spoke to the class about consumer fraud. O’Toole gave the class tips about how to protect yourself as a consumer and what to do if you believe you are a victim of fraud. He stressed to the group, “If you think you’ve been cheated, you’ve got to report it.” According to O’Toole, only 2% of fraud victims ever complain.

Though the current Financial Stability Course will end soon, another session will begin in June. If you are interested in learning more and getting involved with the course, contact Carleda Johnson at Access Living.

Carleda Johnson
Independent Living Skills Coordinator