Friday, July 15, 2011

Empowering Families through Financial Literacy

By: Bryan Troupe, Catalyst Miami Communications Intern 

Maisah Williams is a Certified Financial Counselor with Catalyst Miami's Prosperity Campaign. The campaign's aim is to assist families and individuals in long term stability. "We don't provide just a quick cover up," Maisah says, "We are solution oriented. We help people get to a level in life where they are self-sufficient, meaning they are able to not only locate resources, but to maintain those resources as well." ...A young high school graduate of inner-city Miami has been accepted into Miami-Dade College - but her family cannot afford it.

“Tonya” and her family lack the financial knowledge and resources needed to assist in financial aid or grant opportunities.  Through a friend of a friend, Tonya finds out about the Prosperity Campaign, which can assist her with financial aid and other financial resources for college. Tonya meets with Maisah, who is able to assist Tonya with completing her financial aid report and give her additional financial education. The story does not end there.

Tonya then speaks about her mother with Maisah. Tonya’s mother is currently unemployed, and combinations of a weak economy and having to use unemployment compensation to support a family have her mother depressed. With only a high school diploma, finding a job in Miami Dade County is almost impossible. The mother, “Vivian”, comes into the office the next day to speak with Maisah, who is able to enroll the mother into Miami Dade College and help her set up financial aid.

“One of the great ways we are able to benefit and educate the community is through word of mouth.” Maisah says.

The Prosperity Campaign does not only focus on financial education. Some of the other components of other organization include: helping individuals with their Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), free tax preparation, financial budgeting, and savings planning.

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