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Monday, May 4, 2009

Building bridges through asset building – new partners in Washington’s Native communities

My head is still spinning after participating in last week’s convening of Northwest Native Asset Building Coalition partners in Shelton. I’m so honored to have been allowed to attend, and even more so to have been asked to co-host a workshop on how to incorporate credit information into financial education classes.

I tip my hat to my co-host, Andrea Misano of Consumer Credit Counseling NW. I have a very informal presentation style many find distracting and it was a blessing to work with someone who “got” it and was able to work with me with no pre-conference preparation. Andrea was GREAT and had fabulous tips to share – especially when it came to working with couples on credit and money management. Finding middle ground where opposite personalities can make progress together is so important!

Guest speaker Karen Diver, Chairwoman of the Fond du Lac Reservation, captured everyone’s attention when she shared why she was so passionate about financial education. She spoke of her struggles to get people to look past the statistical data that said she, as a teen, single mother and minority had three “strikes” against her chances of succeeding. She pointed out that data has it’s place: it’s a tool to help get the funding needed to help build people up, not an excuse to keep them down.

“Get the data — to get the funding — to develop and implement your programs — to CHANGE the data!”

BRILLIANT! Good to know those of us doing fin ed outreach are very much on the right track!

Many thanks to Andrea Alexander and Amy Johnson for allowing DFI to be a part of such a wonderful event! I’m so excited to follow up on the many contacts I made during those two fabulous days!