Posts Categorized: M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program

Legal Offices Share Their “Adopting a Classroom” Stories, Part Two

Stephen Cohen (Choate Hall & Stewart) and Eric Teasdale (Choate Hall & Stewart) taught seniors at Edward M. Kennedy Academy of Health Careers about the hidden costs of buying a car.

Stephen Cohen (Choate Hall & Stewart) and Eric Teasdale (Choate Hall & Stewart) taught seniors at Edward M. Kennedy Academy of Health Careers about the hidden costs of buying a car.

Last week, Beyond the Billable shared highlights from two legal offices’ experiences “adopting a classroom” through M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. While Sun Life Financial and Liberty Mutual participated in the model in the past, two new legal offices also stepped up to the plate to provide volunteers for the three classroom-based sessions at two Boston public high schools. The U.S. Security and Exchange Commission adopted a classroom at Snowden International High School and Choate Hall & Stewart adopted a classroom at Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers.

Beyond the Billable checked in with attorneys from Choate Hall & Stewart to hear more about their experience. Here’s what they had to say:

Why did Choate Hall & Stewart choose to participate in the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program?

“Attorneys at Choate are long-time participants in and supporters of the Financial Literacy Program.  When the opportunity arose for the Firm to adopt a classroom this year, we jumped at the chance to expand our work with the Program.  Choate is pleased to serve the youth in our community by teaching them practical lessons in effective personal financial management.” – Meg McKenzie Feist, Choate Hall & Stewart LLP

What was the highlight of the Program for your volunteers?
 
“As a volunteer, I was very impressed with the knowledge the students already possessed, as well as their eagerness to learn more about budgeting, saving, and credit.  My group of students was engaged throughout the presentation and asked me pointed questions.  It was a joy to work with the students and I look forward to engaging with a new group next year.”  – Tyler Masse, Choate Hall & Stewart LLP

 

Students Head Back To Bankruptcy Court to Close Out Financial Literacy Experience

Judge Joan Feeney let students from New Mission High School past the bench and answered questions about how the Court’s computer system works during their trip to the Boston Bankruptcy Court.

Judge Joan Feeney let students from New Mission High School past the bench and answered questions about how the Court’s computer system works during their trip to the Boston Bankruptcy Court.

Last Friday, a group of students from New Mission High School in Hyde Park took a field trip to Boston Bankruptcy Court to meet “Sally Spender” and learn what happened to “Sally” when she failed to budget appropriately and accumulated high amounts of credit card debt. This lesson, Consequences, was fourth and final module of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. The experience wasn’t all about Sally’s mistakes, though. Students got a first-hand look inside a courtroom and had the opportunity to ask lawyers, Judges and court staff questions about what Bankruptcy Court is like.

The Program wraps up in Greater Boston area next Friday after two additional Consequences sessions once students from Woburn High School, Greater New Bedford Technical School, Snowden International High School, Peabody High School, and John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science make the trip to Post Office Square. Take a look below from highlights of the fieldtrip:

John G. Loughnane (Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP) moderated the session and led the students through a discussion of how Sally Spender could have avoided going bankrupt.

John G. Loughnane (Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP) moderated the session and led the students through a discussion of how Sally Spender could have avoided going bankrupt.

 

Seniors for New Mission High School in Hyde Park had the opportunity to visit the Boston Bankruptcy Court, listen to a mock meeting of creditors and hearing, and talk to the attorneys and the Judge after the session.

Seniors for New Mission High School in Hyde Park had the opportunity to visit the Boston Bankruptcy Court, listen to a mock meeting of creditors and hearing, and talk to the attorneys and the Judge after the session.

Legal Offices Share Their “Adopting A Classroom” Stories

Students from Another Course to College learning about Using Credit and Credit Cards, as part of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program

Students from Another Course to College learning about Using Credit and Credit Cards, as part of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program

While students are still traveling the Boston and Worcester Bankruptcy Courts, the classroom based sessions of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program have wrapped up in the Greater Boston area. This year, four legal offices stepped up and “adopted a classroom” to help meet the growing demand for the program in fifteen schools. In this model, legal offices commit to providing 3-6 volunteers to cover each of the three classroom based sessions. In return, the legal offices were able to provide their employees with an opportunity to give back while partnering with a fellow colleague.

Beyond the Billable reached out to the legal departments of Sun Life Financial and Liberty Mutual, both of whom participated in the “adopt a classroom” model last year as well, to hear more about the experience. Sun Life Financial adopted a classroom at Joseph P. Keefe Technical School in Framingham and Liberty Mutual adopted four classrooms at Boston Community Leadership Academy in Hyde Park.

Here’s what they had to say:

Why did your legal office choose to participate in the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program?

“As in house counsel and compliance professionals in the financial services industry, supporting a financial literacy program has been a great way for us to give back to the community and utilize our skills. We selected the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Program for a few reasons. First, volunteers don’t have to be attorneys and this allows us to make the opportunity available to more people in our department. We also like being able to sponsor the same school every year. We have found that consistency of the same teacher, class format and class size every year enhances the success of the program. Volunteers know what to expect and can build off of best practices from prior years to improve upon our delivery of the program for a technical high school. Lastly, the volunteer materials provided by the BBA are very comprehensive, which helps cut down on preparation time, and are designed such that the volunteers can be flexible about deciding how to select content of an organization for a particular session.” – Michelle Greco, AVP & Senior Counsel, Sun Life Financial

“The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program provides a unique opportunity for both the students and the Liberty Mutual Insurance volunteers. Students have the opportunity to learn about finance-related topics from volunteers who have significant real-world knowledge, which we think enables the students to continue to build practical skills as they enter young adulthood. The volunteers enjoy interacting with the high school students and having the chance to make a difference in their lives. In addition, the program gives some of our volunteers with backgrounds in finance a chance to make an impact and help students avoid financial pitfalls in advance, rather than merely helping after the fact.”— Andrew Fagenholz, Corporate Counsel, Liberty Mutual

What was the highlight of the program for your volunteers?

“Spending any amount of time in a high school is like taking a step back in time. As you think about the decisions that are on the horizon for the young adults who will soon be graduating, you realize that while you may have come to talk about the specifics of buying a car, what you are really there for is to impress upon the students the important differences between what they want, and what they really need and can afford. That theme runs through the various modules, and hopefully our discussion about the realities of owning a car helped the students understand the kind of tough financial decisions they will have to make when they are on their own. The students were interested and active, which made the session a lot of fun, and I hope I can participate in this program again in the future.” — Scott Davis, SVP & General Counsel, Sun Life Financial

“Without a doubt, the primary highlight for our volunteers was the chance to provide guidance to young adults through a live, interactive classroom session with a dynamic group of students. Most of our volunteers do not regularly teach high school classes, and they reported that the experience was energizing and exciting. They enjoyed the hands-on exposure and fielding questions from their classrooms both on the finance topic of the day and other matters the students might raise.”— Andrew Fagenholz, Corporate Counsel, Liberty Mutual

Our volunteers were so excited to share their experiences that we had to turn this into a two part statement! Stay tuned for part two when we hear from Choate Hall & Stewart and the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission volunteers about their experiences.

 

 

Students Learn Rules of the Road for Car Financing

Volunteers are wrapping up the classroom-based portion of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program in the Greater Boston area. On Friday, volunteer Attorneys Steve Cohen and Eric Teasdale from Choate Hall & Stewart LLP visited Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers to teach students about the hidden costs of buying a car. Take a look below for a glimpse at the third module in the Program:

Volunteer Attorneys Steve Cohen and Eric Teasdale from Choate Hall & Stewart LLP discuss the hidden costs of buying a car with students at Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers.

Volunteer Attorneys Steve Cohen and Eric Teasdale from Choate Hall & Stewart LLP discuss the hidden costs of buying a car with students at Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers.

 

Students listen attentively as the volunteer attorneys explain the difference between the cost of purchasing a new or used car.

Students listen attentively as the volunteer attorneys explain the difference between the cost of purchasing a new or used car.

So what’s next? Students will head to the Worcester or Boston Bankruptcy Court at the end of the month for the final module in the Program called Consequences.

 

Brighton Students Get Crash Course on Using Credit Wisely

Student’s from Another Course to College ask questions about how to build credit.

Student’s from Another Course to College ask questions about how to build credit.

On Friday, students in Jerry Howland’s law class at Another Course to College in Brighton had a crash course in credit cards. With the help of Attorneys Adam Ruttenberg (Looney & Grossman LLP) and Patricia Saint James (Looney & Grossman LLP), the students learned the basics of credit and how to build credit while making smart choices about their finances. This is the second session in the four-part M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program (you may remember this post about the personal finance and budgeting session).

Take a look below for more on the session:

Volunteer attorneys Patricia Saint James (Looney & Grossman LLP) and Adam Ruttenberg (Looney & Grossman LLP) taught the students about using credit wisely at Another Course to College.

Volunteer attorneys Patricia Saint James (Looney & Grossman LLP) and Adam Ruttenberg (Looney & Grossman LLP) taught the students about using credit wisely at Another Course to College.

Students answer questions about the difference between debit cards and credit cards.

Students answer questions about the difference between debit cards and credit cards.

Students from Another Course to College review the Financial Literacy materials on credit cards.

Students from Another Course to College review the Financial Literacy materials on credit cards.

Next up for the students is the ever popular “Buying a Car” session, which will be followed by the “Consequences” session at the US Bankruptcy Court. Stay tuned for more!

A Student’s Take on Financial Literacy

Ben Haideri, a senior at Boston Latin Academy and 2013 Summer Jobs Student, shared his experience in the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program last summer, answered Janet Bostwick's questions about the Program at the 10th Anniversary Celebration.

Ben Haideri, a senior at Boston Latin Academy and 2013 Summer Jobs Student, shared his experience in the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program last summer, answered Janet Bostwick’s questions about the Program at the 10th Anniversary Celebration.

At last week’s 10th Anniversary Celebration of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program, guests got to enjoy a unique experience, seeing the effects of the Program in front of their eyes. Ben Haideri, one of the 4,000 students who have participated in M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program since the program began, agreed shared his experience in the Program with party attendees. You may remember Ben (who is a senior at Boston Latin Academy and 2013 Summer Jobs student) from this article or this article—he’s a bit of a legend at the BBA. He took part in the Program during the 2013 Summer Jobs Program, when it was offered as a series of enrichment seminars.

Take a firsthand look at what he had to say:

Beyond the Billable also sat down with him to gain a deeper understanding of what he took away from the Program. Here’s what he had to say:

 How have you applied what you learned from the program?

“There are very few programs from which the participants are able to literally walk right out and apply what they learned that very day. The financial literacy program through the BBA, however, stands out as being extremely effective in that regard. Between the day that I participated in the first seminar and now, I have opened a checking and savings account and, more recently, got my first credit card. I don’t believe that I would have been so confident yet careful with such tools that I had at my disposal had it not been for the program.”

What did you like best about the program?

“This program very much epitomizes the learning experience of a student in that it offers the perfect balance between reality and practice. The guest workshop leaders were all professionals who had experience in whatever field they were teaching about, and the financial literacy workbook was just that, a workbook. It combined practice problems that we will most likely face in real life with explanations that are thorough and extensive, attributes that are perfect for those who are learning about financial literacy.”

What do you think was the most important thing you learned?

“The one lesson that stood out the most to me was the one about using credit cards. It may be because I have grown up during a time of general distrust when it comes to dealing with large banks, but I went into the lesson thinking (probably like most people) that credit cards always came with a catch, and in terms of society, seem to have a very negative connotation. Although the credit card companies can be tricky, what I got out of the lesson was just simply to not bite off more than you can chew when dealing with credit cards. The second someone does that he/she is already headed down a slippery slope. The fact is that very few people are able to use cash to buy a car, a house, or even a couch, so, when used responsibly, a credit card, I learned, is a tool that can do a lot of good.“

Is there anything you found particularly useful?

“I very much enjoyed visiting the Bankruptcy Court through the program. While visiting the court, we heard from lawyers and a judge, and it was an amazing experience to be in the presence of people who I look up to. Apart from the experience itself, I would say that since my goal is to become a lawyer, being able to see such people in action is something that I will always find useful.”

Financial Literacy Program – Celebrating 10 Years of Success

Last night, program leaders, volunteers, and teachers gathered in the Claflin Center to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. The evening focused on celebrating the success of the Program, which has reached more than 4,000 students statewide with the help of over 425 volunteers since 2005. Attendees also gained a firsthand account of the impact of the program from 2013 Summer Jobs Student Ben Haideri, who has put his financial literacy into practice, opening a savings, checking and credit account since experiencing the Program.

Did you miss the event? Don’t worry, here’s a look at the evening:

: Program Co-Chairs Janet Bostwick (Janet Boswtick, P.C.), Judge Joan Feeney (U.S. Bankruptcy Court), and Mackenzie Shea (K&L Gates LLP) with Chief Judge Frank Bailey (U.S. Bankruptcy Court).

Program Co-Chairs Janet Bostwick (Janet Boswtick, P.C.), Judge Joan Feeney (U.S. Bankruptcy Court), and Mackenzie Shea (K&L Gates LLP) with Chief Judge Frank Bailey (U.S. Bankruptcy Court).

Judge Joan Feeney spoke about the history of the program and highlighted everyone who has made the program possible over the past ten years.

Judge Joan Feeney spoke about the history of the program and highlighted everyone who has made the program possible over the past ten years.

Ben Haideri, a senior at Boston Latin Academy and 2013 Summer Jobs Student, shared his experience in the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program last summer.

Ben Haideri, a senior at Boston Latin Academy and 2013 Summer Jobs Student, shared his experience in the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program last summer.

Dr. Donna Costa, Tom Higgins, Karen Sikorski, and Rosemary Slattery from Peabody High School attended the event. Tom Higgins’s Law Class has participated in the program since 2007.

Dr. Donna Costa, Tom Higgins, Karen Sikorski, and Rosemary Slattery from Peabody High School attended the event. Tom Higgins’s law class has participated in the program since 2007.

Hampden County Bar Association President-Elect Christina Turgeon (Law Office of Christina M. Turgeon) and Western Massachusetts Financial Literacy Co-Chairs John Davis (Cooley Shrair, P.C.) and Elizabeth Katz (Ostrander Law Office).

Hampden County Bar Association President-Elect Christina Turgeon (Law Office of Christina M. Turgeon) and Western Massachusetts Financial Literacy Co-Chairs John Davis (Cooley Shrair, P.C.) and Elizabeth Katz (The Law Office of Elizabeth Katz).

Volunteers Deborah Dong, Kristin McDonough (Riemer & Braunstein LLP), and John Loughnane (Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP).

Volunteers Deborah Dong, Kristin McDonough (Riemer & Braunstein LLP), and John Loughnane (Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP).

Stay tuned for more on the event. 

Financial Literacy Volunteers Share Their Stories

M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Volunteers enjoy the opportunity to give back to their community and address a real need among high school students.

M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Volunteers enjoy the opportunity to give back to their community and address a real need among high school students.

This winter is flying by and we are already halfway through the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program in the Greater Boston area. BBA Week thought it would be a great idea to reach out to the volunteers who have already participated in the program to see what they enjoyed most about their experience. The response was overwhelming, which is why we couldn’t help sharing it with our readers. If you haven’t volunteered yet, see what you are missing out on here.

Are you interested in getting involved? It’s not too late to volunteer! Click here to view available sessions.

Financial Literacy Finishes Up in Western MA

Students from Holyoke High School traveled to the Springfield Bankruptcy Court to learn about the Consequences of making poor financial decisions.

Students from Holyoke High School traveled to the Springfield Bankruptcy Court to learn about the Consequences of making poor financial decisions.

While the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program is only halfway done in the Greater Boston area, volunteers spent the fall and early winter delivery the program to students in Western Massachusetts. Each year the Hampden County Bar Association and Hampshire County Bar Association team up with the BBA and U.S. Bankruptcy Court to teach 100 students at Holyoke High School, Northampton High School, and Easthampton High School about the importance of making informed financial decisions.

Beyond the Billable would like to thank the volunteers who donated their time and expertise to the Program:

Honorable Henry Boroff, United States Bankruptcy Court
Janet Bostwick, Janet E. Bostwick, PC
Jennifer Butler, Weiner & Lange, P.C.
John Davis, Cooley Shrair, P.C.
Henry Geberth, Hendel & Collins, PC
Alex Hogan, Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin, P.C.
Elizabeth Katz, Law Office of Elizabeth D. Katz
Michael Katz, Bacon & Wilson, PC
Eric Kornblum, The Law Office of Eric Kornblum
Joseph Lange, Weiner & Lange, P.C.
Karen Murphy
Andrea O’Connor, Weiner & Lange, P.C.
Denise Shear, Ostrander Law Office
Spencer Stone, Hendel & Collins, PC
Christina Turgeon, The Law Office of Christina M. Turgeon
Gary Weiner, Weiner Law Firm, PC
Toby Wilson

Make sure you don’t miss Western Mass co-chair Liz Katz’s response to this week’s Voices of the Bar, asking volunteers why they participate in the Financial Literacy Program

M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program Kicks Off in Roxbury

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Amy Lipman-White (Law Office of Lipman & White) and Sarah Barr (Suffolk Law School) discussed the basics of personal finance and budgeting with a group of students at John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science.

Last week, volunteers headed out to 15 schools in the Greater Boston area to teach students about how to make sound financial decisions as part of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. The BBA interviewed two volunteers, Amy Lipman-White (Law Office of Lipman & White) and Sarah Barr (Suffolk Law School) who taught Personal Finance and Budgeting to a group of very engaged students at John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science last week. Amy, a long-time volunteer who has been donating her time since the start of the program, and Sarah, a first-time volunteer, led the students through the basics of budgeting and the basics of taxes with the aid of a jolly rancher reward system. Here’s what they had to say about the experience:

Why did you volunteer for the program?
Amy: I believe this program can make a difference in a student’s life.   I feel that if I can reach just one student and that student benefits in the future from even just one idea, then I’ve made a difference.

Sarah: I am concentrating in Business Law and Financial Services at Suffolk Law School, so this seemed like a great opportunity to give back to the community in a way that corresponds to my career goals and personal values. I think that financial education should begin at a much earlier age than the college years, because this is the time when kids are first beginning to make financial decisions which can really impact their future, such as taking out student loans, applying for credit, paying bills, etc.

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Sarah Barr (Suffolk Law School) discussed the difference between fixed and variable expenses with the students.

Why should other attorneys get involved?
Sarah: Other attorneys (and law students!) should get involved because this is a fantastic opportunity to give back to the Boston community, and provide high school students with some very practical skills in order to help them make educated financial decisions. This program empowers students by giving them the information they need in order to independently make good financial decisions.

What was the highlight of the session?
Sarah: This group of students was very engaged in the conversation, which gave us the opportunity to ask a lot of questions and get the students involved during the entire class. The students seemed to truly care about the issues we were talking about, and were proactive in connecting the information we provided with things that were going on in their everyday lives.

What information did the students seem to find most interesting and useful?
Amy: They were really interested in the W-4 and W-2’s and taxes.  However, this was a unique group of students. Most of them worked one or two jobs with significant hours and had already filled out the W-4 forms and had no idea why or what it was and they were just getting their W-2’s for the first time so they were interested in that topic because they didn’t know they might have to file taxes or that they could file a tax return and get money back or possibly have to pay.  The other topic they always find interesting is making out the budget, it is fun for the students.  They can use their imagination of what they want now and in the future, think about the reality of what things cost and then dream about what they will do to make it happen.

Are you interested in volunteering? Click here to view the available volunteer sessions.

This fall, volunteers delivered the program to students at three high schools in Western Massachusetts in collaboration with the Hampden County Bar Association and the Hampshire County Bar Association. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program, a collaboration between the BBA and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts.