Financial Coaching Workshops come to North Barclay Green

North Barclay Green Community Center at 2001 N Barclay is a community space provided through Neighborhood Partners and Telesis and is open daily to connect neighbors to resources, provide programming for all ages and interests, and work to make Barclay a great neighborhood to call home.

St. Ambrose offered a one day financial education workshop in February at the center and was invited to host a four week financial coaching workshop series this spring. We sat down with the center’s community organizer Tarahn Harris to catch up on what’s going on at the North Barclay Green Center and to get his perspective on financial education in the neighborhood. Tarahn works with Ms. Lottie Snead to bring programming and resources to Barclay residents.

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So, how do financial coaching services contribute to the overall vision for moving the community forward?

Neighborhood Partners has 7 core values to support the neighborhood, one of those values is financial empowerment.

The workshops provide information that’s accessible that can help residents see new options for themselves and envision a different future. Neighborhood residents can see that even if they don’t have the job they want right now, they can still set goals- and that’s the impact and the importance of financial education for the neighborhood.

What was the response from neighborhood residents about the financial workshop?

There’s been a lot of good feedback, and I think community members are just grateful to be exposed to the information. The workshop is presented in a way that is super engaging, which makes it easier for the residents to embrace the information. What’s really great is that St. Ambrose is accessible to the community so that physical barrier is gone. It’s important to connect people to resources that they can walk to.

What impressed you about the Financial Education workshop this winter?

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Denitra Braham, St. Ambrose Financial Coach, answers a participant’s question at the February workshop

It’s refreshing to have the information presented in a way that is fun! There was such a wealth of information and the way it’s presented is accessible and engaging.The question and answer section was really helpful and participants at the workshop were made very comfortable, even with a subject that’s usually sensitive.

What other services are offered at the center and through its partners?

Community round tables about nutrition and diabetes, community gardening, help for returning citizens, job readiness support, youth programs like a bike club, Monday night cooking classes with a local chef… and more!

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With a background in social work, community organizing, and family counseling, Tarahn serves Barclay with a  breadth of knowledge on how to have a positive impact on other people. He’s hitting the pavement to make sure Barclay residents are connected to the resources they need- no matter how big or small. As Tarahn wisely noted, “Communities thrive through partnerships,” and we’re happy to have Tarahn and the crew at North Barclay Green to be out there connecting neighbors to resources and providing a great community space for the Barclay neighborhood.

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St. Ambrose Welcomes our YouthWorks Summer Employees

Summer jobs help propel teens into a productive future. Research shows that for each year teenagers work in high school, their income rises an average of 15% in their 20’s. Summer jobs for teens have been shown to correlate with a lower arrest rate, in addition to teaching lifelong lessons about responsibility. Despite these advantages, a multitude of factors have caused the share of teenagers who work during the summer to plummet since the 2000’s (NY Times).

This year, Baltimore responded to this issue by stepping up to support youth employment. State, city, and private funding poured into YouthWorks, the city’s summer jobs program, to enable all 8,000 youth applicants to be placed in a summer job this year, an increase from 5,000 last year. The uprising this spring sent a clear message to our city about the necessity of investing in our youth and providing them the opportunities to learn and grow through valuable employment opportunities. St. Ambrose offered our support to the program by sending staff over to the YouthWorks office this June to volunteer with necessary administrative tasks to ensure each youth could be placed in time for the program’s tight deadlines.

St. Ambrose and NHS of Baltimore volunteers with YouthWorks staff
St. Ambrose and NHS of Baltimore staff volunteers with YouthWorks staff

St. Ambrose welcomed our two YouthWorks summer employees last Monday to begin a summer of working and learning at St. Ambrose. Gary and Rochelle help with administrative tasks in each of the different departments at St. Ambrose giving them an opportunity to learn a little bit about each St. Ambrose program.

Rochelle

Rochelle is participating in her 4th year in a YouthWorks summer job. She will be a senior this fall at Lock Raven High School and her favorite subject is math. In addition to earning an income, she’s looking forward to taking some courses at CCBC this summer. When she grows up she wants to be a lawyer and own a small business on the side.

Gary

Gary just graduated from City High School and this is his third year participating in YouthWorks. His favorite subject is history, especially world and US history. He’s looking forward to getting some extra sleep this summer and enjoys walking around the reservoir in his neighborhood to clear his head. When he grows up he wants to be an animator.

Welcome to the St. Ambrose family, Rochelle and Gary!

New Workshop Series focuses on Investing in the Future

Through support from MECU, the Foreclosure Prevention department recently initiated a brand new five-week financial education workshop series. The course was designed to be a financial coaching course where participants could learn how to make empowering financial decisions and invest in their future.

On the first night, participants were encouraged to make a short-term goal that they could accomplish by the end of the five week course. These goals spanned from finishing the course to saving more money, and from rebuilding credit to signing a contract on a house. All participants who finished the course felt that even if they didn’t achieve their goal during the five week period, they had made significant progress towards their goals and felt better equipped to make empowering financial decisions.photo 4

The lead financial counselor for the course, Denitra, commented that she really “admired that the participants were so focused.” One thing that she asserted after hosting her first five-week course was that learning how to make better financial decisions is a process, and all participants had unique moments and lessons that led them to a full realization about what could be inhibiting them from reaching their financial goals.

One lesson that seemed to be really influential outlined the impact of your credit score on your ability to get a good rate on a loan. Effective strategies to take control of your credit score and rebuild credit were also discussed. Participants also agreed that discussions about goal setting helped to form new financial habits.

But one of the most effective parts of this workshop setting was the community that participants built among each other. It wasn’t just the lessons that enabled attendees to gain ground towards their financial goals; it was the companionship and support network that participants formed with each other.

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If you’re interested in participating in an upcoming “Invest in Your Future” workshop, contact Antoine Norris at 410-366-8550 x235

Youth Works “St. Ambrosers”

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This summer St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center had the amazing opportunity to apply for a Youth Worker from the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development. Youth Works offers students the chance to gain office experience while the office receives valuable assistance from the youth.

St. Ambrose was matched with Tyshai Robinson, an awesome Youth Worker who so graciously said yes to being a guest blogger. We asked her to write down her thoughts about St. Ambrose and going back to school. Continue reading for her response.

Working at St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center was a good experience for me although I’m not really an office type girl. Despite the type of person I am, my overall experience is going very well, all because of the people I work with. Everyone here is so happy and welcoming. They must all love their job, and if not they are some great actors.

Anyway, I really enjoy being around them. I hope they can say the same about me. LOL 🙂 But honestly I can’t see myself doing what the other St. “Ambrosers” (I made that up LOL) do. I applaud them for their hard work, its much needed but it is not for me.

Following my senior year of HIgh School, class of 2014 *woop woop* I want to study to become an airline pilot while also studying business to hopefully one day own my own airline. I enjoyed my time here at St. Ambrose. If I had a choice to work here over going to school, I would most definitely be at St. Ambrose’s door 9:00AM every day!

Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness

To all of you trying to ‘do good while doing well’ workers, in 2007, Congress created the Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness Program to encourage graduating students to enter and work full time in public service jobs.

Borrowers may qualify for forgiveness of a balance on their student loans.  This applies to parents working in public service who are paying their children’s loans, as well.  Of course, there is a lot of small print and documentation so start thinking about it now.

Having become intrigued with the world of nonprofits and community development while completing my undergraduate degree, all of my work since graduating has been in public service.  Finding out more about this program has been hovering in the background of my brain for a year or so and I moved it forward when my graduate degree loan payments started cutting into my expendable income.   My gift to you.

http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/PSF.jsp

http://studentaid.ed.gov/students/attachments/siteresources/factsheet_PSLF.pdf