Now in its 16th year, the Nelson Fellows
Program has developed a reputation as a jewel in the crown of public service
programs offered at Boston's John Joseph Moakley Federal Courthouse. Named for
Judge David S. Nelson, the first African-American appointed to the federal
judiciary for the District of Massachusetts, the Nelson Fellowship is a summer
enrichment program for high school students with demonstrated leadership
potential from the cities of Boston, Brockton and Worcester. This year, in
addition to working in the chambers of the judges to whom they are assigned, and
attending trials and other court events -- as well as classes in subject
areas such as civil rights, literature, and writing -- the Nelson Fellows
will participate in the M.
Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program
"Financial literacy is an essential skill that is not necessarily being
taught to these students in their schools," said U.S. District Judge Denise J.
Casper. "The program is a good opportunity to introduce them to the concepts of
budgeting, personal finance and other important life skills."
In 2005 -- amid concerns that students were
graduating from college carrying significant credit card balances at the same
time their college loans were coming due, and then filing for
bankruptcy -- the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of
Massachusetts in partnership with the Boston
launched the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. The
curriculum was designed by bankruptcy attorneys and features sessions taught by
lawyer volunteers. A U.S. Bankruptcy judge presides over the finale, a
mock bankruptcy hearing.
The Nelson Fellow will participate in a modified program with a two hour
classroom session and then the mock hearing or "consequences module" conducted
at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Adding the financial literacy program to
their calendar of activities came about when Judge Casper made a personal
request to Chief Judge Frank Bailey of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the
District of Massachusetts.
"We are delighted to offer the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy
Program to the Nelson Fellows," said U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith Dein.
"Learning to make prudent credit choices is a valuable skill for all students,
rich or poor."
Since its beginning the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy
Program -- with the help of more than 450 volunteers -- has reached
more than 1700 high school students in more than 60 Massachusetts classrooms
from inner city to affluent suburb.
The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program receives funding from
the Boston Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the Boston Bar