BCDC was awarded a mini-grant to provide general financial education classes. Classes were open to all residents of the Blackfeet Reservation, but the target population was students. The hope was to reach students on the cusp of taking responsibility for their finances, before they developed bad financial habits.
To make the classes more appealing to this age group, electronic teaching materials were used for the first time: the Game of LIFE and Choice and Chance Finance. Previously, BCDC had been using homemade games. The classes also used Money on the Bookshelf, a traditional, paper-based curriculum.
Two classes were held for high school students, and two classes were held for college students. Twenty-seven students participated in the college classes, including both entering freshmen and returning students.
Elva Dorsey, who administered the project, reports that the classes were especially successful in getting college students to think critically about certain aspects of finance for the first time. Chief among these was the use and risk of credit cards. Several upperclassmen in the college classes shared their experience of becoming overly indebted, which led freshmen to begin thinking about debt in the long-term and how to manage it.
Dorsey says that classes will continue on an ongoing basis. She notes that instructional materials purchased with mini-grant funds are re-usable, making it easier to continue providing the classes with limited overhead.
For further information on BCDC, please visit their website: http://www.browningcdc.org/.