United Way of San Diego County Brings “Bright Futures” to Adults and Kids

According to the Insight Center for Community Economic Development’s newly updated 2011 California Family Economic Self-Sufficiency Standard, San Diego County data, over 30 percent of San Diegans are unable to make ends meet.
Nov. 8, 2011 - PRLog -- However, such dire financial statistics are not unique to San Diego County. Last week, United Way, TIME magazine, AARP Foundation, the Ford Foundation and others across the country gathered for “Opportunity Nation” to answer the question: “What can we do to restore opportunity in America?”

Toward this goal, the United Way of San Diego County (UWSD) continues to improve the financial stability of local individuals and families through its “Bright Futures” initiative. By assisting disadvantaged and immigrant youth, the homeless, low-income families and individuals that make too much to qualify for public assistance, but not enough for self sufficiency, this year’s results are already exceeding expectations.

“Adults and children must be educated about financial matters, or the vicious cycle will continue – that’s what Opportunity Nation and Bright Futures are all about,” said UWSD President and CEO Doug Sawyer. “Children need to learn the value of saving early, and adults who lack financial education need to learn the skills, setting an example for their children and sustaining their families.”

UWSD’s Bright Futures applies a holistic and practical approach to financial self-sufficiency that combines financial education, job skills development and behavioral changes. Bright Futures includes three levels: Youth (basic financial education for ages 18 and under); Adult Basic (basic financial education for ages 18 and over); and Adult Intermediate (financial education, job skills development and benefits screening/enrollment for over 18).

New this year, the nonprofit has added a comprehensive job skills training component for both youth and adults.

Bright Futures’ Current Impact
As part of its Community Impact business model, UWSD is measuring Bright Futures’ outcomes. Since the initiative launched in February 2011, results have shown increased financial knowledge and savings, decreased debt, better budget preparation, increased credit scores and more:

o 487 children and teens have finished programs, including completing hundreds of job applications, resumes and mock interviews
o The students have also created personal budgets and developed short- and long-term financial goals
o Participating youth increased their financial knowledge by 78 percent2 and 329 completed job applications

Adult Basic and Adult Intermediate
o Nearly 1,400 adults have successfully completed programs and increased their financial knowledge by 128 percent. (Financial knowledge measured by pre- and post-assessment tests.)
o The participants submitted over 1,000 job applications, 100 of them secured jobs and another 100 individuals increased their wages in their current jobs
o 53 participants have saved a total of more than $22,300, and three individuals have purchased homes through the Individual Development Accounts (IDA) matching savings accounts program

Agencies funded for the Bright Futures initiative are: Community Housing Works, International Rescue Committee, MAAC Project, Money Management International, North County Lifeline, SAY San Diego, San Diego Housing Commission and South Bay Community Services.

To learn more about United Way income programs in San Diego County or Bright Futures, contact Community Impact Manager Shaina Gross at sgross@uwsd.org or 858-636-4181.

About United Way of San Diego County
United Way of San Diego County is a nonprofit organization that for 90 years has improved lives by mobilizing the community and raising funds to solve Education, Income and Health issues. The United Way movement creates long lasting community change by addressing the underlying causes of problems that prevent progress in these areas. LIVE UNITED is a call to action for everyone to become part of the change. To learn more about the United Way, visit http://www.uwsd.org or visit our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/unitedwaysd?ref=ts

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United Way of San Diego County is a nonprofit organization that improves lives and creates lasting change by raising money and mobilizing the community to solve education, income and health issues. To learn more or to donate, please visit www.uwsd.org
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Tags:United Way, Time Magazine, Aarp, Financial Assistance, United Way of San Diego, Job Skills, Bank Accounts
Industry:Non-profit, Education, Finance
Location:San Diego - California - United States
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