Posts Tagged: M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy

A Year in Photos: BBA Public Service

The BBA had another year full of public service. For a look back at our members’ work in the community, take a look at the photos below:

The John & Abigail Adams Benefit raised over $640,000 last January to help fund grants to 23 Massachusetts community organizations providing legal services in areas, such as domestic violence and homelessness.

The John & Abigail Adams Benefit raised over $640,000 last January to help fund grants to 23 Massachusetts community organizations providing legal services in areas, such as domestic violence and homelessness. The BBF honored Former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino with the Public Service Award for his commitment to the City of Boston, including his efforts to find employment for thousands of Boston teens each summer.

The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program celebrated its 10th anniversary this past year by providing financial education to students in 18 high schools statewide.

The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program celebrated its 10th anniversary this past year by providing financial education to students in 18 high schools statewide.

The BBF’s popular Casino Night had a new twist this year—100 percent of the proceeds supported the BBA Summer Jobs Program. As you may remember, the BBF funds paid internships for Boston high school students in nonprofit and government agencies each summer through the program. The event raised more than $35,000 for the M. Ellen Carpenter Fund to benefit the Summer Jobs Program.

The BBF’s popular Casino Night had a new twist this year—100 percent of the proceeds supported the BBA Summer Jobs Program. As you may remember, the BBF funds paid internships for Boston high school students in nonprofit and government agencies each summer through the program. The event raised more than $35,000 for the M. Ellen Carpenter Fund to benefit the Summer Jobs Program.

http://www.bostonbar.org/in-the-community/public-service/housing-court-lawyer-for-the-day-program

The BBA Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court Program celebrated its 15th year anniversary of providing legal assistance to pro se landlords and tenants at the Boston Housing Court. Since the program began, over 12,000 volunteers have helped more than 15,000 landlords and tenants navigate complicated legal issues.

In April, Boston commemorated the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. The following month, the BBA honored the volunteers who stepped up to offer pro bono legal assistance to over 80 small businesses and individuals affected by the bombings at the Law Day Dinner through the BBA’s Marathon Assistance Project.

In April, Boston commemorated the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. The following month, the BBA honored the volunteers who stepped up to offer pro bono legal assistance to over 80 small businesses and individuals affected by the bombings at the Law Day Dinner through the BBA’s Marathon Assistance Project.

The BBA’s Law Day in the Schools Program took off this year. Ninety-four attorneys taught over 1,300 Boston public school students from kindergarten through seniors in high school about voting rights.

The BBA’s Law Day in the Schools Program took off this year. Ninety-four attorneys taught over 1,300 Boston public school students from kindergarten through seniors in high school about voting rights.

In addition to honoring the volunteers for the Marathon Assistance Project, the BBA honored the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC) at the Law Day Dinner. The BBA and PIC have partnered for the past 21 years to place more than 700 Boston public high school students in paid legal internships each summer.

In addition to honoring the volunteers for the Marathon Assistance Project, the BBA honored the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC) at the Law Day Dinner. The BBA and PIC have partnered for the past 21 years to place more than 700 Boston public high school students in paid legal internships each summer through the BBA Summer Jobs Program.

In June, the BBF unveiled its newest fundraising event, called Passports to Pairings, where 100 % of the proceeds supported the BBA Public Service Programs. The event raise nearly $37,000, featured food and beverage pairings, and gave attendees an opportunity learn more about the BBA and BBF’s work in the community.

In June, the BBF unveiled its newest fundraising event, called Passports to Pairings, where 100 % of the proceeds supported the BBA Public Service Programs. The event raise nearly $37,000, featured food and beverage pairings, and gave attendees an opportunity learn more about the BBA and BBF’s work in the community.

The BBA continued to step up its commitment to the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program by placing a record-breaking 64 Boston high school students in paid internships at Boston law firms, legal departments, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations through the BBA Summer Jobs Program. The BBF also increased its commitment to the program by funding 14 of these paid positions at non-profit community organizations, government offices and courts.

The BBA continued to step up its commitment to the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program by placing a record-breaking 64 Boston high school students in paid internships at Boston law firms, legal departments, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations through the BBA Summer Jobs Program. The BBF also increased its commitment to the program by funding 14 of these paid positions at non-profit community organizations, government offices and courts.

On September 1, 2014, the BBA celebrated the one year anniversary of the Military & Veterans Help Line’s move to the BBA Lawyer Referral Service, connecting 161%more servicemembers to legal assistance. Later in the fall, the BBA announced that four firms—Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, Nixon Peabody LLP, Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius, and Nutter McClellen & Fish LLP—had stepped up to offer pro bono assistance to servicemembers who do not qualify for traditional free legal services, but cannot afford the fees of attorneys.

On September 1, 2014, the BBA celebrated the one year anniversary of the Military & Veterans Help Line’s move to the BBA Lawyer Referral Service, connecting 161% more servicemembers to legal assistance. Later in the fall, the BBA announced that four firms—Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, Nixon Peabody LLP, Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius, and Nutter McClellen & Fish LLP—had stepped up to offer pro bono assistance to servicemembers who do not qualify for traditional free legal services, but cannot afford the fees of attorneys.

The BBA welcomed Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, who discussed her work and commitment to combating military sexual trauma. This program is part of the BBA’s ongoing commitment to addressing the needs of military personnel, veterans, and their family members.

The BBA welcomed Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, who discussed her work and commitment to combating military sexual trauma. This program is part of the BBA’s ongoing commitment to addressing the needs of military personnel, veterans, and their family members.

October, proclaimed Pro Bono Month, once again brought a flurry of trainings and events to 16 Beacon. The lineup included the annual Landlord Tenant Law and Practice Training, the CORI Training, the Pro Bono Recruitment Fair, and the Representing Survivors of Human Trafficking: An Introduction for Attorneys Program.

October, proclaimed Pro Bono Month, once again brought a flurry of trainings and events to 16 Beacon. The lineup included the annual Landlord Tenant Law and Practice Training, the CORI Training, the Pro Bono Recruitment Fair, and the Representing Survivors of Human Trafficking: An Introduction for Attorneys Program.

The BBA Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts released its long-awaited report called Investing in Justice, which found that the majority of clients seeking legal assistance are turned away and made the business case for an additional $30 million in civil legal aid funding.

The BBA Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts released its long-awaited report called Investing in Justice, which found that the majority of clients seeking legal assistance are turned away and made the business case for an additional $30 million in civil legal aid funding.

The BBA kicked off the Community Reentry Readiness Program once again this November. The program, which was originally started by PILP 9, aims to reduce the risk of recidivism by sending volunteer attorneys to deliver civil legal education workshops to federal probations in the CARE/RESTART Program on issues that they may face upon reentry.  The pilot program was such a success that the BBA and Federal Court once again teamed up to continue the program.

The BBA kicked off the Community Reentry Readiness Program once again this November. The program, which was originally started by PILP 9, aims to reduce the risk of recidivism by sending volunteer attorneys to deliver civil legal education workshops to federal probations in the CARE/RESTART Program on issues that they may face upon reentry. The pilot program was such a success that the BBA and Federal Court once again teamed up to continue the program.

In November, BBA President Julia Huston spent the morning shadowing the headmaster of Mary Lyon Pilot High School in Brighton through BPE’s Principal for a Day Program. As a former teacher in special education, Julia found the program particularly interesting because every single class at the Mary Lyon Pilot High School is fully inclusive, incorporating both general education and students with emotional and behavioral impairments.

In November, BBA President Julia Huston spent the morning shadowing the headmaster of Mary Lyon Pilot High School in Brighton through BPE’s Principal for a Day Program. As a former teacher in special education, Julia found the program particularly interesting because every single class at the Mary Lyon Pilot High School is fully inclusive, incorporating both general education and students with emotional and behavioral impairments.

The BBA Lawyer Referral Service participated in a number of community events this year, including the Massachusetts Conference for Women which drew a crowd of nearly 10,000.  These events help to raise awareness of about the largest public service program of the Boston Bar Association, which fielded over 7,900 calls last year.

The BBA Lawyer Referral Service participated in a number of community events this year, including the Massachusetts Conference for Women which drew a crowd of nearly 10,000. These events help to raise awareness of about the largest public service program of the Boston Bar Association, which fielded over 7,900 calls last year.

In December, the BBA geared up to kick off an exciting new pilot program in the Land Court with a training on assisting homeowners facing tax foreclosure.  . Now that a number of attorneys are up to speed on the issue, they can volunteer to be on call to assist homeowners at the Land Court’s Thursday Tax Title Sessions and help homeowners hold onto their property.

In December, the BBA geared up to kick off an exciting new pilot program in the Land Court with a training on assisting homeowners facing tax foreclosure. Now that a number of attorneys are up to speed on the issue, they can volunteer to be on call to assist homeowners at the Land Court’s Thursday Tax Title Sessions and help homeowners hold onto their property.

 

The BBA and Busing in Boston

Ed Barshak and Julia Huston

Ed Barshak (Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.) received the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award at last week’s Annual Meeting Luncheon for his leadership on issues, such as the desegregation of the Boston schools through busing.

Our dedicated readers know about our partnership with the Boston Public Schools through a number of our public service initiatives, including the BBA Summer Jobs Program, Law Day in the Schools, and the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. However, you may not know that our support for Boston youth precedes these longstanding initiatives. If you were one of the 1,200 attorneys who attended our Annual Meeting Luncheon on Friday, you know BBA President Julia Huston referenced the BBA’s involvement in the City of Boston’s efforts to desegregate schools through busing in the 1970’s in her remarks about the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Honoree, Ed Barshak.  Here’s what happened: under then President Ed Barshak’s leadership, the BBA worked to educate the public about desegregation and the busing movement—a movement which fundamentally changed the structure and makeup of the Boston public schools we work with today. If you want more specifics about the BBA’s role in this issue, our friends at Issue Spot, the BBA’s Public Policy blog, offer a full rundown of events in their post, A Retrospective – The BBA and Busing, 40 Years Later.

Summer Jobs Students Get Consequences Lesson from Behind the Bench

Judge Feeney showed the BBA Summer Jobs students how the court's computer system worked during their fieldtrip to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Judge Feeney showed the BBA Summer Jobs students how the court’s computer system worked during their fieldtrip to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

This summer, the BBA Summer Jobs students and the Nelson Fellows of the U.S. Federal District Court took yet another field trip to visit Chief Judge Bailey and Judge Feeney’s courtrooms at the Boston Bankruptcy Court. The trip to Bankruptcy Court was the final portion of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program, which was folded in to the students’ weekly enrichment seminars.  Through the Financial Literacy program, students were primed on how to budget, use credit wisely, and finance a car, and this final session gave them a glimpse of what happens if they make poor financial decisions from inside the courtroom.

This fieldtrip marked the end of the BBA Summer Jobs weekly enrichment seminar series, which included a mock City Council meeting in Boston City Council chambers, a “speed dating” session where they heard from lawyers of three different backgrounds, a trip to the John Adams Courthouse, and much more.

Take a look below for more images from the fieldtrips:

  The Nelson Fellows participated in the Consequences session with Chief Judge Frank Bailey.

The Nelson Fellows participated in the Consequences session with Chief Judge Frank Bailey.

 The BBA Summer Jobs students visited Judge Joan Feeney's courtroom at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the final session of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program.

The BBA Summer Jobs students visited Judge Joan Feeney’s courtroom at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the final session of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program.

 

Not Your Standard Summer Job – Students Get Crash Course on Credit & Budgeting

The BBA’s Summer Jobs Students excitedly answered participated in their first Financial Literacy Program.

Our loyal Beyond the Billable readers are well aware of the plethora of long-term benefits of offering Boston public high school students professional experience. The short-term benefit (and a major plus for the students) is, of course, the opportunity to earn a paycheck. Now that the students have already earned their first summer paycheck, they are beginning to make decisions about how to spend it. Should they buy new clothes, see a movie, or save for their first semester of college? The BBA Summer Jobs Program enrichment seminars are offering the students guidance on educated decisions about their money via the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. So far, the students have learned how to create a budget, the importance of paying yourself first, how interest on credit cards work, and the difference between a debit and credit card. Over the next few weeks, the students will continue to acquire tools through additional sessions on buying a car and learning about the consequences of making poor financial decision at Bankruptcy Court.

Beyond the Billable checked in with two BBF-funded students working at the Volunteer Lawyers Project this summer to hear what they’ve learned so far. Here’s what they had to say:

Liraniz Colon

“I thought the sessions were pretty good because I already have a debit card. I tell myself all of the time now that I shouldn’t go over a certain amount on my debit card because I want to save money. If I know I have enough money in my account, I’ll save my paycheck for something like school. [The volunteers] really taught me to budget.”

Liraniz Colon, a rising senior at John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science

“In [the Using Credit and Credit Cards] seminar, I learned that you have to be really careful with your credit and how you spend your money and what company you choose. You have to choose wisely and you have to make good decisions about what you spend. You have to ask yourself do I need this or not; can I wait or can I not. You have to be very responsible.”

Mackaila Garcia, a rising senior at Charlestown High School

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.”