Wells Fargo Foundation

Grant supports LEAP and financial literacy

A $10,000 grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation is supporting LEAP, our employment preparation program for high school students. The grant will also allow us to incorporate financial education curriculum into LEAP and our Community Supports/Habilitation program for adults.

People with disabilities need the same financial knowledge and skills as those without disabilities, and if they receive a public benefit, they also need to understand the impact increasing their income or assets may have on their benefits. Financial education is the first step on the pathway to achieving financial wellness, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to enhance our programs in this way.

The LEAP program combines paid work experience with curriculum instruction to provide participants with the skills they need to transition successfully into adulthood. Groups meet for interactive curriculum and coaching in the morning followed by an afternoon of paid workplace experience in the community. Adding a financial education component is an excellent way to enhance the program and teach the students about the importance of money and budgeting.

We will incorporate the lessons and activities offered through Hands on Banking, Wells Fargo’s online financial education program, into the classroom curriculum. Students will learn basic money management skills and the importance of planning, and apply what they learn to the income they will be earning.

Many of the adults receiving community supports/habilitation services through Easterseals have some aspect of financial education included in their individual support plan. For example, learning the meaning of money, budgeting, balancing needs versus wants, planning for a specific purchase or saving goal, and comparison shopping. Community-based support services are delivered one-on-one with the individual working in partnership with a direct support professional. Therefore, the financial education curriculum must be tailored to the individual. We will use the resources available through Wells Fargo’s Hands on Banking program and the financial education tools developed by the National Disability Institute to build a customized curriculum for each individual.

Easterseals is pleased to have the opportunity to leverage its resources in collaboration with Wells Fargo to prepare high school students and adults with disabilities to transition into employment and become more financially literate and empowered.

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