Financial Literacy Training for Corpsmembers Through DOI Federal Credit Union

Mario Mejia (Center) of DOI Federal Credit Union at Green City Force 

Did you know that the Department of the Interior Federal Credit Union (DOIFCU) offers a free, comprehensive financial literacy training designed for Corpsmembers?

Through both The Corps Cooperative and The Corps Network, staff and Corpsmembers from member organizations of The Corps Network, as well as their immediate family members, have the option to bank with DOIFCU. Part of the Credit Union’s mission is to not only offer the resources to manage your money, but to help people understand money management practices, too.

“My main goal is to link knowledge to the resources,” said Mario Mejia, The Corps Network’s account manager for DOIFCU and the lead organizer of the financial literacy training program. “Everyone has financial needs, but everyone isn’t eligible to access resources.  Partnerships like this open the doors to meet financial needs through competitive resources in a low to no fee structure, that’s step one. Step two is simply providing the literacy so that each member is equipped with the knowledge to maximize the resources. I see it as, you can have a car and keys, yet learning how to drive is the game changer.

Mario recently visited New York City to conduct a training with Corpsmembers from Green City Force. The topics covered included Credit Unions v. Banks; Money Management Benefits; Steps to Improve your Financial Management; Budgeting; Practical Money-Saving Tips; Banking 101; Credit 101; and Money Management Tools. The training involves an informational presentation as well as activities that prompt Corpsmembers to make financial goals, consider their current expenses, and develop an action plan for how to meet their goals.  

Mario Mejia (Center) of DOI Federal Credit Union at Green City Force 

“This training is specific to Corps, with a focus on youth and young adults from every stage of life,” said Mario. “…I’ve found that over the span of years from adolescence to young adulthood can have its advantages or disadvantages.  During that time frame, several life changes can take place that the average person isn’t prepared for, and can have a lasting effect on your finances.  This can range from situations such as first time homebuyer, birth of a child/children, a loss of a loved one, college expenses, first time saving/checking accounts, etc.  This is where access to financial resources and literacy has its greatest effect.  We realize every situation may be different, but good money habits coupled with access to services and financial coaches is the best way to direct through life’s changes.  Sadly, it doesn’t take much to end up in an upward climb to get back on track.  Often times your credit can be damaged even before you’re 18, which a good amount of youth encounter from misusage due to family members or lack of information.  Even if it’s not the topic of credit I regularly receive questions like: how do I get started, how do I get ahead, or how do I fix that…?”

Though Mario hosted the training for Green City Force, the presentation and activities have accompanying notes, allowing Corps staff the flexibility to lead the training themselves. Mario is currently working with a Corps to develop a way to do the training via video conference so Corps staff will be better equipped to present and answer Corpsmember questions in future trainings. Additionally, though the training at Green City Force offered a general overview of financial management, Mario is happy to customize the training around particular topics a Corps may want to cover.

“To me, the Green City Force training was extremely successful,” said Mario. “I considered the success rate based on their questions from the beginning, and how much their questions advanced by the end.  I watched as they began to connect the dots, internalizing the information and making it relevant to their own lives.  I heard the side conversation and as a presenter I watched the principles germinate throughout the room. That said I knew they were getting it...People walked away and I felt like they were encouraged and equipped with credit union sheltered services, a plan, and knowledge to make S.M.A.R.T decisions with their financial lives.  The resources were going to be a lot more successful because something clicked. They said I can do this and I feel comfortable doing this.”

Mario is currently in conversations with several Corps about the training and is excited to talk with any other Corps that are interested. In the future, Mario hopes to provide the training as a day-long seminar or as 2-hour-long segments for each topic that the Corps wants to cover. All seminars are customized to fit your needs.  At the end of the training, Corpsmembers receive a certificate in recognition of their achievements and commitment to better their lives with sound money management habits.

Interested Corps can contact Mario by email, phone (703-801-5713), or through the Special Offers page of The Corps Network website’s Members Only section.

***This is a free service provided to all Members, Affiliates and AmeriCorps Basic Members of The Corps Network.