Community Comes Together to Support Financial Education

The Financial Literacy Training Event was attended by 23 students, faculty, staff, and community members. The training event marks the beginning of an important partnership between Pacific University and Operation Hope + Financial Beginnings.

On Oct. 27, 23 students, faculty, staff and community members came together on the Pacific University campus to learn the basics of teaching budgeting, banking, credit, investing and insurance to students (grades 4-12) and adults. The training workshop was sponsored by Operation Hope and Financial Beginnings, two non-profit organizations that provide financial education to youth and adults, and the Center for Civic Engagement at Pacific University. 

In today’s economic climate, financial literacy is critically important. As local employer and Forest Grove City Councilor Tom BeLusko noted, “Promoting economic literacy leads to empowerment and an opportunity of choice that will last a lifetime. Especially with present high unemployment, heavy underemployment and other stifling economic conditions, educating students and young adults should be a priority to allow this generation to have the best possible chance at positive prospects of a strong and well-balanced financial future.”

Participants in the volunteer training workshop participated for many reasons. Alecia Neuman, assistant controller at Pacific University, chose to get involved in order to “give youth and young adults the tools they need to achieve and be independent.” Tom BeLusko attended the training because he sees a strong crossover between his role as an employer in our county, as well as his role as a Forest Grove City Councilor. “In both positions I've tried to be an advocate for sound economic policy and development. If I can bring attention to the partnership of Operation Hope and Financial Beginnings, hosted by Pacific University's Center for Civic Engagement, I will do so with vigor.” Dedicated Operation Hope volunteer Don Jones came to refresh his training and to support new volunteers. 

The Business Administration Department at Pacific was sufficiently impressed with the opportunity for students to learn and serve by working with Operation Hope and Financial Beginnings that they have created a course, “Community Financial Literacy,” in which students can volunteer to teach the basics of budgeting, banking, credit, investment and insurance to others and earn course credit for themselves. According to Department Chair Michelle Cowing, creating an official course “signals the significance of this kind of civic engagement and appropriately recognizes the effort, planning and learning that we believe our students will be involved in through this partnership.”

The Center for Civic Engagement at Pacific organized this event to both address the community need for financial literacy and do so in a collaborative way that includes multiple constituencies. Stephanie Stokamer, the director of the Center for Civic Engagement, commented that “rarely does this combination of students, faculty, staff, business leaders and non-profit organizations come together with a single focus like financial literacy. We would love to see more of these kinds of partnerships.”  For more information on how you can get involved, contact Carla Ingrando at or (503) 352-1570.

Posted by Carla Ingrando ( on Oct 28, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Edited by Jenni Luckett ( on Oct 31, 2011 at 8:40 AM

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