Fourth Equity Express Workshop Helps Community Leaders Teach Money-Saving Techniques
CNT hosted its fourth Equity Express “train-the-trainer” workshop in early May. Nineteen representatives from 12 local community outreach organizations, such as homeless advocacy groups, disability housing programs, and refugee assistance centers, attended the workshop that was filled to capacity. Over the course of the two-day event, CNT staff helped these leaders develop strategies for training their constituents on the best ways to generate income savings on a modest budget.
Energy consumption, transportation utilization, food purchases, and communication expenditures comprise approximately 40 percent of a monthly budget; once these expenses are paid, households, especially those with low to moderate incomes, have barely enough money for housing and general living expenses, and savings are out of the question. With little to no money in the bank, these households have no financial security, leading to elevated stress levels and reduced quality of life. Equity Express demonstrates that by making simple, environmentally mindful changes in energy, transportation, food, and communication costs, a household can increase its financial security while enjoying a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.
While these lessons taught by Equity Express are simple, their impact is significant. Participants in the program report savings of over $100 per month, an amount that can help build a financial safety net when unexpected costs arise. And, as one attendee of the recent workshop attested, “this program changed my life forever.”
Through a combination of environmental and financial education, “train-the-trainer” sessions facilitate discussion between community outreach organizations, allowing them to effectively host Equity Express workshops and foster financial stability in their communities. According to one trainer, “I learned new things and shared resources, made new connections and contacts.” Another, excited to pass on the lessons of Equity Express, stated, “Everything I learned here will be useful for me, my family, and clients. I LOVED IT.”
Trainers are invited to continue the collaborative educational process by attending monthly meetings of the Equity Express Chicago Learning Network. These meetings allow trainers to share their progress in implementing Equity Express workshops, solve potential problems, and celebrate victories.
“Train-the-trainer” workshops are held approximately twice a year. CNT is planning to host the next workshop later this year. Contact CNT Social Ventures Associate, Adam Mays, to learn more.