The Family Leadership Academy Initiates a New Cohort

On Tuesday, January 11 the Puerto Rican Action Board (PRAB) in partnership with New Brunswick Tomorrow (NBT) held an orientation for the 13th cohort of the Family Leadership Academy (FLA).

The partnership that the FLA develops with families emphasizes the importance of being socio-economically self-sufficient. The FLA is a vital component of NBT’s Esperanza Neighborhood Project, which aims to revitalize the Esperanza neighborhood, as it provides families with the skills and access to resources needed to achieve greater economic security & mobility. The orientation prepared participants for the year-long initiative for which they registered.

At the orientation, families learned about the different aspects of the program. Following the orientation, families were assigned family coaches with whom they would have one-on-one sessions throughout the program to achieve their goals. Family Coaches ensure that the entire family is engaged through the "whole family approach". The initial sessions would be focused on envisioning and setting those goals as well as identifying their support network and managing obstacles throughout this process.

One of the most important lessons in the FLA is the financial modules related to budgeting, advantages and options in banking, and the importance and impact of credit and debt. The skills that families learn in these sessions are essential fundamentals for them to continue to grow financially. To launch their savings, the FLA coaches help the participants open a savings account in which they can have up to $1250 matched by the program by our sponsor, Magyar Bank.

Further building upon skills that benefit the “whole family”, the FLA features sessions on health and well-being and education and career. The health lessons transition from the finance lesson explaining the correlation between health and finances and moves on to demonstrate the importance of health insurance and nutrition, stress and stress management, and physical exercise. The education and career module not only teaches skills for the adults such as resume writing and interviewing skills but how parents can advocate for their child’s educational needs.

Along with workshops for the adults, the FLA provides a curriculum for the children that mirrors the adult curriculum. While adults are learning about finances, health, and education, the youth sessions teach the same topics through activities created just for them. As families share their experiences throughout the program, they learn and grow together.

Ultimately, the FLA enhances families’ human, social, and financial capacity. Throughout the program’s history, 113 families have graduated from the FLA with participants receiving a grand total of matched savings of over $143,000. Once the program is completed, families receive a certificate of completion having at least achieved one goal from their family plan and become a part of the FLA Alumni network. As a part of this growing network, alumni are set up to successfully become advocates for their community.

We're excited to be a part of this program and see the progress of these families over the next year!

January 31, 2022

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