This summer, ASA launched a partnership with the Financial Literacy Coalition of Central Texas (FLCCT) to offer free financial literacy workshops for clients. The workshops are designed to develop money management skills such as budgeting, tracking expenses, and creating personal plans to reach financial goals. I first learned about FLCCT through a job training organization I used to work with, and their services sounded like a perfect fit for ASA. Our case management program strives to provide clients with the tools they need to be healthy, supported, and self-sufficient, and financial literacy plays a huge role in achieving those goals.

Our first three financial literacy workshops were held this summer, and feedback from attendees was extremely positive. When asked what the most helpful part of the workshops had been, clients cited everything from “The explanation of types of loans” to “Seeing I’m not alone in dealing with money.” One client whose case manager had asked him to attend said, even though he hadn’t been looking forward to the workshop, “in the end I appreciated it.”

Many attendees also reported new skills they plan to adopt as a result of this class, such as avoiding payday loans, using online budgeting tools, and becoming more aware of spending habits. One attendee said he would encourage others to attend the workshop because “it can help you in a lot of ways.” The FLCCT volunteer presenters were described by clients as “great,” “awesome,” and “exceptional!”

As case managers, we’ve been excited to be able to share this new resource with our community, including clients at many of our partner organizations in Austin, since we often find ourselves referring clients to financial trainings at other agencies across the city. Offering such workshops here makes them more accessible to many people who come to ASA already, and fills a much-needed gap in the wide range of support services we already provide. I have also been glad to help promote FLCCT, which provides such important services to the community at no cost.

ASA’s next financial literacy workshop will be held next Tuesday, October 21 from 12:30-2:00 pm in Room 110. All clients of ASA or other Austin AIDS services organizations are welcome, no RSVP required. If you cannot make this workshop but wish to attend in the future, please call (512) 458-2437 to find out when the next one will take place.