"The means is dialogue, the end is learning, the purpose is peace." ~ Founder Dr. Jane Vella
Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners (NT) www.neighborhoodtrust.org has a strong track record of working with residents of New York City connecting them to smart financial services and help them get on solid financial footing. NT believes strongly in the need to break people out of inertia and support them to take actions – even small actions – to create change in their financial lives. They believe that this can happen only through combining personal learning and change with the right mix of financial services and products. NT came to Global Learning Partners, Inc. (GLP) to bring the best of dialogue-based adult learning methodology to create a new “Getting Ahead” program.
GLP worked with NT to research, develop, pilot-test, and launch this comprehensive learning program. The program combines face-to-face group sessions with individualized financial advising and product offerings through a network of community development credit unions. The program is built around a research-based “Getting Ahead Cycle” so that people explore all of the following aspects of their financial lives and take action around each: setting and holding goals; choosing services wisely; spending less to save more; managing debt and building credit; and using a practical financial plan. GLP and NT staff worked collaboratively along the way by co-creating the foundational steps of the design and learning objectives for each session. NT staff provided content expertise while GLP creatively crafted a sequence of learning tasks to achieve the objectives.
In order to ensure that this strong design would be used effectively in the hands of NT financial advisors, we crafted and led a unique facilitator training built on the belief systems of NT. Here are a few reflections by a seasoned NT financial advisor, Tyler Phillips, following his participation in the GLP-led facilitator training:
The way the training was designed was quite efficient and we covered a lot of material with no "filler." Everything was absolutely relevant and I and other advisors were anxious to take the new material and skills we learned and start using them right away. I enjoyed the challenge and format of the training. Everyone was able to test out their facilitator skills and receive valuable feedback which we rarely receive out in the field. I felt a real connection to the material as I was able to experience the new “Getting Ahead” curriculum from both the facilitator and participant perspective which I know will be invaluable to my work with clients. … The participants love the constant interaction, sharing, and connection to relevant material that is supported by the curriculum and the cadence makes the time fly!
So far, the response from the field has been powerful. Financial advisors claim that families are facing their financial lives more honestly, discussing them more openly, and taking steps to make change.