August 7, 2020
Your 21st CCLC families might be among the hardest hit financially due to workplace closures and layoffs as they navigate months of uncertainty. The lessons on sound financial planning in Y4Y’s Financial Literacy course will be all the more important to help students prepare to act later when unpredictable events arise in their adulthood. But your most impactful role with families right now may be offering ideas on how to REact to circumstances outside their control. When times are tough, prioritizing expenses and debts requires careful thought and can have lasting consequences. An extreme example would be surviving family members using limited resources to pay down the student debt of a passed loved one, only to discover years later the debt could have been discharged. This is the case for federal loans, but not all education loans — be sure to investigate if this situation ever comes up for you.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has gathered a series of resources to help citizens protect their finances during the pandemic. These resources can provide guidance on everything from student loans to housing liabilities, asset protection and the host of scams that have arisen at this unfortunate time. Consider offering a virtual event to walk families through these and other resources from authoritative sources. You might also discuss decision-making strategies for today’s environment, while steering clear of offering financial advice. The Tackling Tough Subjects Training to Go can help you prepare staff to engage appropriately with families.
You’ll better understand just where families are coming from if you download and customize the Adult Financial Literacy Needs Survey. Pick and choose from the Financial Literacy Adult Program Schedule to reflect the exact needs you discover in your community. Invite trusted partners with knowledge of finances or relevant laws to present in your program, and consider forming new relationships. There may be organizations that offer pro bono credit counseling to specific populations such as survivors of domestic violence, veterans or low-income families. You can search for members of the Financial Planning Association in your area for potential partners near you. Be sure to coordinate in advance to agree on the type of expertise they’ll offer.
On a more basic level, your families may be facing greater food insecurity than before the pandemic. The bad news is, so are many other members of the community. Suddenly, already scarce resources are being spread even thinner. It’s time to get creative on behalf of your families. You can start by reviewing Y4Y’s January guest blog post on Food Insecurity and 21st CCLC programs with Shannon Browning, 21st CCLC Program Director at Macomb Public Schools in Oklahoma. Consider the possible problem-based learning and civic engagement aspects of researching, understanding and facilitating solutions to food insecurity, if not for your students, perhaps for students in neighboring communities. Reach out to student leadership advisors or social studies educators, for example, across the town, district, or county, and advocate for the families in your community. Young people today are globally minded and are seeking opportunities to have a positive impact. They, too, may be struggling with feelings of helplessness. You can help plant the seeds of successful kid-to-kid food collection programs that benefit all.
Quite literally, everyone on the planet has a different financial perspective than they had six months or a year ago. While many of your students’ families may fit into the category of “essential worker” and continue to work, by no means does this ensure their financial security or stability. Your 21st CCLC program can continue to be a much-needed resource, partner and comfort to the families you serve.