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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Students Improving the Financial Lives of Underserved Yakima Valley Residents

In a geographic area known for economic and educational poverty, lies a unique set of university students who are working hard to improve their communities – students who are creating phenomenal change for the better.

Meet the Heritage University SIFE team, an extra curricular group that works to improve the quality of life and standard of living for those living in the Yakima Valley.

Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) is an international non-profit organization that works with leaders in business and higher education to mobilize university students to make a difference in their communities while developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders. Participating students form teams on their university campuses and apply business concepts to develop outreach projects that improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need.

Yakima Valley – The Need for Financial Education

90% of the population in the Yakima Valley has been characterized as financially illiterate by Consumer Credit Counseling of Yakima. This illiteracy stems from the Yakima Valley’s largely immigrant populations who have come to work in agricultural labor, which predominate the valley’s economy.

Development of Financial Education Workshops

Through their partnership with DFI, Heritage University SIFE created a series of workshops to expose primarily Spanish speaking immigrants to credit, homeownership and other relevant financial issues.

By the end of the workshops, attendees understood not only the benefits and responsibilities in obtaining good credit, but also the consequences that come with poor credit habits.

Workshops have been known to draw 200 attendees including parents and children. Pre and post tests indicate the adult attendees went from 10% knowledge of their skills to a 97% comprehension of what is necessary to have good credit report, how to obtain it, and how to maintain it.

Radio Broadcasts

In addition to the workshops, Heritage SIFE and DFI work together to participate in radio broadcasts that discuss financial topics. Radio broadcasts have covered topics such as what to do if you’re facing foreclosure, how to avoid fraud, and how to maintain good credit.

Learn More

Learn more about the Heritage University SIFE program by visiting

View the 2011-2012 SIFE Annual Report -