Mercy Home Supporters Bring Financial Literacy to Our Youth
In today’s world, credit opportunities are everywhere. Credit is important – it gives us access to things like education, transportation, and homeownership. But it also carries risk. One financial misstep may have long-lasting repercussions.
At Mercy Home, we equip our youth with tools that help them achieve success. Financial literacy lessons are one set of these essential tools. Through these opportunities, our kids are able to lay a foundation that helps them avoid mistakes and achieve financial security for a lifetime. As we celebrate National Financial Literacy Month, we are grateful for our supporters who lend of their time, resources, and expertise to prepare our youth to make these important decisions.
Familiar Faces at Huntington National Bank
This past year, several employees from Huntington Bank have taken the time to teach financial literacy informational sessions to our youth and former residents.
Ryan Ferris, the Vice President of Commercial Banking for Huntington Bank, is one of the central organizers of these sessions. But this isn’t the only way he supports Mercy Home. He is also a member of our Associate Board. Our Associate Board is a group of young professionals who strive to support the kids of Mercy Home. Their objective is to promote our mission by engaging other young professionals through social, volunteering, and fundraising events.
Ryan was first introduced to Mercy Home seven years ago when he attended our Graduates’ Luncheon – an event that honors and celebrates the accomplishments of our student graduates. He was so inspired by the stories of the youth, he decided to get involved and volunteered as a tutor. Now, he is the co-chair of the volunteer committee on our Associate Board.
Given Ryan’s relationship with Mercy Home and the mission of Huntington Bank to give back, the financial literacy sessions were a perfect fit.
“One of our core values is investing in the communities that we serve, and so we do a lot with Mercy Home and other nonprofits across the Chicagoland area,”
“One of our core values is investing in the communities that we serve, and so we do a lot with Mercy Home and other nonprofits across the Chicagoland area,” Ryan said. “We really try to invest in the communities that we serve, and financial literacy is obviously one of the core parts of that.”
Working with our AfterCare staff, Ryan helped design the curriculum he and his colleagues teach to our youth. The most recent session took place in March at Mercy Home’s supportive housing apartment complex.
Some of the issues Ryan and his colleagues touched on during this session included the importance of creating a fixed budget, why building credit is important, things to be aware of when applying for credit cards, and the importance of maintaining communication with lenders.
It was a lively and interactive session where much of the discussion was tailored to the personal questions of the residents. At the end, Ryan and his colleagues asked for feedback about what the participants would like to learn about in the future.
Neighborly advice from TransUnion
TransUnion is a credit reporting agency and one of Mercy Home’s West Loop neighbors. TransUnion supports our Home in a variety of ways, one of which is providing a Credit Score 101 presentation for our youth.
TransUnion has been giving this presentation for the last four years in conjunction with the Chicago Bulls and another nonprofit, Credit Abuse Resistance Education (CARE). Samantha Nierman, program manager of TransUnion’s philanthropy program Good Works, believes the social missions of Mercy Home and TransUnion make for an excellent partnership.
“We highly value reaching kids at an early age to help them understand the basics of finance and how your actions today could impact your financial future.”
“Financial education and the protection of children are two very important pillars to us at TransUnion,” Samantha said. “We highly value reaching kids at an early age to help them understand the basics of finance and how your actions today could impact your financial future.”
The credit 101 presentation to our youth covers what credit is, the difference between a credit score and a credit report, how their credit score affects them, and awareness about identity theft.
We are so grateful for the continued support from our friends at Huntington Bank and TransUnion. The gift of their knowledge, passion, and generosity ensures that our kids have the necessary financial tools to be successful in the future.