What would make a big difference in the life of a homeless person, beyond the obvious answer of a home and job?
“Surveys show that people in shelters want education programs,” said Jeff Ghitman, leader of a team of eleven International MBA (IMBA) students at Florida International University (FIU) that plans to increase the financial awareness of homeless people who spend time at the Chapman Center in downtown Miami, one of two sites run by Community Partnership for Homeless (CPH).
“We have created a curriculum focused on budgeting, banking and credit so that once people transition back into society they have the skills to manage their money better,” Ghitman speaking for teammates Deyanira Corrales, Conor Flynn, George Hancock, Andre Jaimot, Fabiola Marquez, Kellie Montoya, Danny Pena, Desiree Ruiz, Bekah Stevens and Andreina Zuccaro.
Students create a compelling curriculum, devise plan for sustainability.
The group worked closely with staff from CPH, including executives and case managers, to confirm the need. They benchmarked other programs in Florida. They explored sources for instructors. And, they presented a plan, including a curriculum, to stakeholders on October 28, 2009. The curriculum includes three programs designed to be interactive, to be delivered in hour-long sessions over four weeks—the average stay at CPH is 47 days—and to be engaging through the use of games.
“Our mission is to provide the people in the Chapman Center with a sustainable framework for responsible financial decision making,” Ghitman said, “and after we graduate in 2010, we plan to sustain the program by passing the baton to other students.”
Deanne Butchey (PhD ’05), who has developed a required financial literacy service learning project in her undergraduate class within the College of Business Administration, has agreed to be the faculty advisor to this project. She has promised that either students from her Financial Markets and Institutions course or City Year will provide instructors.
Both the Chapman Center and the graduate school in which the IMBA students are enrolled are named for Alvah H. Chapman Jr., who founded CPH and was a major benefactor of the business school.