This article was originally posted in Beyond the Billable, the Boston Bar Association's Public Service Blog. Click here to read the original post.
After visiting 7 schools, convening 52 classes and reaching over 430 students, the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program has concluded its 2012 program year. This year’s program represented a high water mark in both the number of students served and the number of volunteers mobilized. 87 lawyers, law students, and financial planners donated over 420 hours to teach high school juniors and seniors in Boston, Greater Boston, Worcester and Springfield. The M. Ellen Carpenter represents a public service partnership between the Boston Bar Association and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts, and is now in its 8th year.
At the heart of the program is teaching students the importance of making sound financial decisions, and avoiding the poor credit choices that can result in bankruptcy. Through interactive discussions held over the course of four sessions, the students and volunteers covered personal finance, budgeting, credit cards , financing a car, and personal bankruptcy. With support from the Boston Bar Foundation, students traveled to the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts in Boston, Worcester, and Springfield for the final session, a mock bankruptcy hearing.
Hear what volunteers have to say about the students, the Program and why they donate their time:
“I volunteered because I cannot believe that a course in basic financial literacy is not required to receive a high school diploma. I was lucky to have parents who taught me the basics- like how to make a budget (i.e, how to figure out that you can’t afford even 10% of the stuff that your teenage self wants), how to live within (or even remotely close to within) your budget, how to balance your checkbook, how to save for college (or a car or a computer or a trip abroad), and how to not go crazy with credit cards. But not everyone has someone to teach them the basics. And I don’t know how we expect these kids to become functioning, let alone successful, adults without these skills. I wish that financial literacy was a part of every school’s curriculum. – Kristin Davis of K&L Gates
“I was worried that it would be like pulling teeth to get high school kids interested in credit, but they were very eager to learn and participate. I was most impressed when the students had questions or wanted to participate without being asked to do so. They seemed genuinely interested in learning the subject matter.”- Jessica Massey of the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General
“I would hope students understood that credit cards are more than likely going to be a part of their lives and that if used responsibly, they do provide benefits. However, at the same time, if used the wrong way, they can be very dangerous and lead to major financial problems.”- Michael Licker of Foley Hoag
“The most memorable part of the session was when the students shared with us their experiences with lending and borrowing money. For those that had borrowed from friends and family in the past, it was interesting to see how many of them had in fact been charged interest. Upon learning of the inordinately high interest that some of the students had paid to their friends, we shared a few laughs with the students as we explained “loan sharking” to them. – Shemane Amin of Brown Rudnick LLP
To view photos from the Program, please click here and here.
The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program would not be possible without volunteers committed to giving back to the children and youth in our community. A special thanks to the following volunteers for the time they have donated to planning the 2012 Program and teaching the classes:
Honorable Joan Feeney, Program Co-Chair, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Honorable Frank Bailey, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Honorable Henry Boroff, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Honorable Melvin Hoffman, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Janet Bostwick, Program Co-Chair, Janet E. Bostwick, PC
Jeanne Darcey, Program Co-Chair, Sullivan & Worcester LLP
Adam Ruttenberg, Looney & Grossman LLP
Adrienne Walker, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C.
Alberto Barrera, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Alexis Theriault, Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP
Andrea Roller, Duff & Phelps
Ann Kelley, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Anne J. Farina, Sun Life Financial
Arwen Thoman, Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General
Ashley Quigless, Choate Hall & Stewart LLP
Benjamin Zalman, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Bernie Schilling, Liberty Mutual Group
C Kimberly Bakeberg, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc.
Christine Kuta, Kuta Intellectual Property Law LLC
Christopher Gosselin, Sullivan & Worcester LLP
Clive Martin, Robinson & Cole LLP-Boston
David Gabor, Wagner Law Group, PC
De Bellofatto, Sun Life Financial
Diane Rallis, Holland & Knight LLP
Doe Pichard, Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General
Elizabeth Katz, Ostrander Law Office
Frederick Paulsen, Burns & Levinson LLP
Galen Gilbert, Gilbert & O’Bryan LLP
Gina Barbieri, Mirick O’Connell
Greg Dekermenjian, Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General
Halina Magerowski, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Heather Cheney, Boston Financial Management, Inc.
Jaime D’Almeida, Duff & Phelps
James Bonfanti, Eastern Bank
James Downey, Citi
James Zuckernikm, Robinson & Cole LLP-Boston
Jennifer English, Citi
Jenny Yandell, Parker & Associates
Jessica Massey, Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General
John Beccia, Boston Private Financial Holdings, Inc
John Davis, Cooley Shrair PC
Jordan Baumer, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Joseph Morrissey, JSW Morrissey & Associates
Kathleen Rahbany, Craig and Macauley Professional Corporation
Kristin Davis, K & L Gates LLP
Lucy Lovrien, Attorney at Law
Lynne Xerras, Holland & Knight, LLP
Mackenzie Shea, K & L Gates LLP
Maria Grinko, Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General
Mark Berman, Nixon Peabody LLP
Mark DiOrio, Bulfinch Companies, Inc.
Martha Claire Masinton, Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General
Martha Coakley, Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General
Marti Kopacz, Brant Point Advisors LLC
Mary Donnellan, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Mary Sharon, U.S. Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the First Circuit
Mary Sullivan, Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General
Meghan Roche, Attorney at Law
Melissa O’Berg, Rocket Software, Inc.
Michael Licker, Foley Hoag LLP
Michael Pappone, Goodwin Procter LLP
Michele Collins, MetLife
Michelle Greco, Sun Life Financial
Natalie Sawyer, Murphy & King, P.C.
Noah Kaufman, Foley Hoag LLP
Paul Connors, Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP
Regina Brooks, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Richard Mikels, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C.
Richard Sheils, Bowditch & Dewey, LLP
Sara Meyers, Ropes & Gray LLP
Shemane Amin, Brown Rudnick LLP
Steven Pohl, Brown Rudnick LLP
Warren Agin, Swiggart & Agin, LLC