11 Aug 2015

Community Building not just Community Helping

The Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre believes in community building not just community helping.

“We strive to build a healthy community where an individual’s health and wellbeing are not limited by poverty,” says Nicole Braun former Program Manager of Creating Opportunities.

While they are known for their food programs, The Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre offers many other kinds of programming to help build the community, including the community garden, clothes depot, and education programs, like the Creating Opportunities Program.

“We believe that education is a powerful tool to transform families and communities,” says Nicole. “Our classrooms continue to provide opportunities for adult learners to enhance their skills.”

Since their program has expanded to include a workplace experience component, they have assisted thousands of individuals in improving the skills required to build healthier lives and reach their goals.

For the Food Bank, an essential piece of this program was the inclusion of a Financial Literacy component.

“Learning Financial Literacy is a crucial element to the skills offered in our programs,” says Nicole. “It’s not only about skills, but it is moving individuals to a place where they are confident about money. It is an emotionally charged topic, but for people who have faced difficulties in the past, there can be a lot of stigma and shame around financial issues.”

The Food Bank sought help from one of their community partners, READ Saskatoon, in offering Financial Literacy to their program attendees.

“We are pleased to work with our community partners in delivering these workshops to our classes. READ Saskatoon provides incredible facilitators who do amazing work at delivering the content meeting people exactly where they are at in terms of skills, literacy levels and capabilities.”

READ Saskatoon delivers a five-part series of workshops to program participants. Each workshop builds on the questions and concerns of the students as they move through the course. By the time the workshops are finished, Nicole says participants are much more comfortable and interested in their finances.

“We had one participant who went out and opened their first ever bank account,” says Nicole. “And the folks at READ Saskatoon are able to connect our participants to great people at great institutions who will help them feel welcome and comfortable.”

READ Saskatoon was pleased to award the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre with the inaugural Compound Interest Financial Literacy Award. This award, sponsored by Prairie Policy Centre, was presented at LIT UP! in March, and celebrates individuals and organizations who champion Financial Literacy in the community.

“It’s about connecting participants to the right resources that will help them take meaningful steps towards a brighter financial destiny,” says Nicole. “I’m proud of how our programs have adapted to meet the needs of our community.”

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