top of page
NJCDC Launches Great Falls Peer Financial Literacy Workshops for Paterson High School Students

NJCDC Launches Great Falls Peer Financial Literacy Workshops for Paterson High School Students

February 24, 2023

Financial literacy education is vital in Paterson, which is New Jersey's third-largest city and one of its poorest. Home to 160,000 residents, the median family income in Paterson is $46,451—about half the state average. 25% of the population lives below the poverty level (nearly triple the state rate) and 10% of the population survives on less than $10,000 per year.

A significant way to help a community like Paterson is to teach Financial Literacy at a young age. Financial illiteracy is more common among low-income individuals because they typically don't have access to mainstream financial resources and tools; many lack bank accounts and check-cashing businesses are thriving. This ultimately leads to generational poverty.

To combat this financial illiteracy, NJCDC created the Great Falls Peer Financial Literacy Workshops — a financial literacy training program organized for our Paterson Youth Council, all made possible by a $20,000 grant from Invest in Others Charitable Foundation. PYC members are receiving training using curriculum designed by EverFi, a leading digital provider of educational resources. In addition, PYC members will be coached by staff from local financial institutions and NJCDC staff to mentor ten Paterson high school students each on the topic of financial literacy. Ultimately, 330 high school students will receive training, preparing them for future financial success.

On Wednesday, February 21, NJCDC kicked off their first session of the workshops at our Great Falls Youth Center with over 30 Paterson high school students in attendance. We had special guests, Lisa Goldhamer and Carolina Rozewski, from Peapack-Gladstone Bank teach our students about Banking Basics. Our students learned all about different types of banking institutions, types of bank accounts, how to save money and so much more! This workshop was the first of eight that will provide a comprehensive overview of important financial topics including Credit Scores and Reporting, Budgeting, and Debt Management.

NJCDC's Chief Development Officer, Parshu Shah, introduced our guests from Peapack and said to the PYC members, "We hope this series of financial literacy workshops will achieve two goals. First, and most importantly, you will learn financial content and habits that will help you and your financial health as you progress through high school and move on to college or your first job. Second, as leaders, we hope you will spread this knowledge to your peers and community as you conduct workshops of your own.

The students left the first session feeling more knowledgeable about their finances and how to save more efficiently. One PYC member said, "Before this workshop, I was unfamiliar with managing my finances and how I would start this experience as a teenager. Through the workshop, I was able to learn more about the inner workings of banking and the best steps to take towards opening a bank account."

Another student shared, "I am very grateful for the Paterson Youth Council along with Peapack-Gladstone Bank for the opportunity to participate in their Financial Literacy training workshops. Through the first workshop we got insightful tips on saving, investing and different types of accounts that can be opened to save more. I'm very excited about what the future holds being well-equipped in this area of finance."

bottom of page