Nelson Santiago speaks to group of Latino youth

Published: Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Consumer Action’s Nelson Santiago speaks to a group of Latino youth about various financial literacy topics.

Consumer Action’s Nelson Santiago visited the offices of New Economics for Women (NEW) in Los Angeles in early December, where he spoke to a group of youth participating in its Latino Immigrant Asset Development and Protection Project. One of the main goals of the project is to educate Latino immigrant families, including children and youth, on issues relating to asset development and wealth creation. In describing the need for the project, NEW cites various hardships currently facing Latino families in the United States including financial insecurity, unknown immigration status, and deportation of family members. In particular, the agency notes that information on how to grow and protect assets, especially during deportation, is not readily available. Santiago was asked to speak to the youth about various financial literacy topics including remittances, or the sending of money to relatives and friends living in the family’s home country. Santiago based his remittances presentation on Consumer Action’s popular “How to Send Money Home” brochure. The brochure includes a discussion of the various ways to send money and describes many low cost options that can help avoid high fees and save money. The teens will be able to use the information provided by Santiago to help educate the rest of their family on smart and economical ways to send money. They will also be better prepared in the event they become the principal breadwinners responsible for sending money to loved ones who may have had to return to their home countries. During Santiago’s presentation, he asked for a volunteer who might be willing to step to the front of the class to write on the easel board the dollar amount of remittances currently sent each year to Latin America from the U.S. That number is $45 billion, and only a brave few dared to guess the number of zeros that followed the forty-five. In a separate exercise relating to the value of money and the use of credit, the attendees broke up into groups to discuss the types of purchases they consider to be “needs” and those they consider to be “wants.” After the training, the youth group rejoined parents who had been in a separate workshop provided by the Small Business Development Center. Lunch was served to everyone allowing an opportunity for more informal conversation, whether about sporting events later that afternoon or how the program was making people’s lives better.
 
 
 

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