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M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program







  • Financial literacy is one of the most important skills a young person can learn. Unfortunately, too many high school students lack the tools necessary to make smart financial decisions. And by the time they learn the consequences of their actions, it can take years to recover.

    The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program gives youth the opportunity to learn about their financial rights and responsibilities.

    Each year, the Boston Bar Association, in partnership with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts, recruits and trains volunteers to visit classrooms across urban and suburban communities in the Commonwealth. Volunteers educate students about budgeting, using credit cards, the perils of falling into financial trouble and more. The program culminates with students going on a field trip to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to learn through mock hearings the real-life consequences of financial mismanagement.

    Since its founding in 2005, the Financial Literacy Program has reached over 3,300 high school students with the help of over 350 volunteers. During a recent 12-month span, 158 volunteers visited 16 schools and a record high of 1,300 students.


    Ilene Robinson Sunshine, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, BBA volunteer

    Ilene Robinson Sunshine, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, BBA volunteer

    I volunteered because I wanted to help provide some basic, highly practical skills to a young population that has little or no access to them. The students were engaged and interested. Their teacher was fantastic. The most memorable moment was the collective gasp that went through the room when the students realized how long it would take to pay off a relatively small credit card balance by making only the minimum payments — they were stunned!