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ParentsToChildren: Creating a Sustainable Community-Based Financial Literacy Educational Program

We can improve financial literacy with an educational program that teaches older students who then pass along lessons to younger students.

Photo of Ludwig Gerdes
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Who does this idea benefit, who are the main players and what's in it for them?

Main players: * Community Leaders: Individuals within any community that can mobilize buy-in to programs; ideally possessing a strong understanding of local financial institutions * Students: Students would be broken down into each grade level or age group from oldest youngest WIIFT: An effective program requires a minimal time commitment, but provides a positive sense of community involvement. Primary Beneficiaries: * The entire local community would benefit as all members are involved

How is your idea specifically using the power of communities to improve financial opportunities and resources?

Inspired by the Junior Achievement Program (, this idea relies on community leaders and established educational systems. The structure would be as follows: 1. Community leaders (such as parents or PTO's) would divide into groups to visit and teach financial literacy to upper-level classrooms for one day. 2. The students that were taught that day would then separate into groups and teach a younger class the next day. 3. Repeat step 2 for all student age groups.

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Anyone can experiment with this process in their community, simply by volunteering a day out of their schedule to teach a local class about financial literacy concepts. There are numerous resources to make these lessons entertaining and informative (many of which were touched on during the research portion of this challenge). Then after you teach the class and answer any questions they have, encourage them to volunteer to teach a younger class. Work with their teachers to make it an assignment.

What skills, input or guidance might you be seeking from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea further?

Numerous sources provide recommendations for financial literacy programs, but a standardized program that is flexible enough to be adapted to any local community regardless of language could best be built through a crowdsourced effort such as is possible with OpenIDEO. So refining this community-based program should be thought of as a community effort.

This idea emerged from:

  • An individual

Here are some additional links that I believe contain valuable resources:

Junior Achievement Program

FDIC MoneySmart Program



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Photo of Ryan Zimmerman

Hi Ludwig,

Thanks for using our classes as inspiration. We have returned the favor and provided some early feed back to help you develop your ideas using an: I like, I wish, I wonder process. RZ

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