Learning in a seminar

Bringing financial literacy to the most vulnerable

Last month, ABC Life Literacy Canada partnered with Agincourt Community Services Association (ACSA) to deliver a Money Matters workshop in celebration of Financial Literacy Month. ACSA is a non-profit multi-service agency in Scarborough, Ontario that provides a variety of programming for marginalized populations in the region.

The workshop, held on November 5, was delivered to residents of a Toronto Community Housing building in the Glendower neighbourhood. As part of the workshop, volunteers from TD Bank Group, the founding sponsor of Money Matters, were on-site to help deliver customized one-to-one financial literacy programming to the participants.

“Residents in the Glendower community are very interested in capacity building and in opportunities to increase their skillset, particularly around financial literacy,” says Vasanti Persaud, Manager, Youth and Community Initiatives at ACSA. “We hosted this workshop at this location because I knew the residents would be interested and engaged in the content. The approach with the TD Bank volunteers was very beneficial to residents as it gave them the ability to speak one-on-one with someone to get their questions answered.”

Persaud explains that the workshop was a very informal atmosphere which made the content much more approachable to participants.

“When you go into a bank, sometimes certain products are pushed onto people. As this was an information session, nothing was being sold and so people were able to relax and learn from the volunteers and talk about their experiences with personal finance.”

The audience represented a diverse mix of people including youth, newcomers and seniors. Persaud says the volunteers all had different financial knowledge and a range of experience and so they were able to tailor the conversation to the needs of their learner. It was the customization of the programming that really helped to engage the participants in a conversation, many of which extended well into the lunch break.

Persaud explains that these kinds of programs are very beneficial to people living in community housing as the residents are often met with a lot of barriers.

“The impact that the pandemic has had on the residents’ financial stability has really affected their quality of life, and so the whole concept of financial literacy is even more important now,” says Persaud. “As adults we all need to spend time focusing on our finances, analyzing how we spend money and better understanding needs vs wants, especially in this current economy.”

To learn more about Money Matters and to host a workshop in your community, visit abcmoneymatters.ca.