CUSD, Orange County United Way bring financial literacy services and resources to south Orange County families



By CUSD Insider staff

South Orange County Families facing financial and housing insecurity will now be able to receive financial literacy services and resources thanks to a partnership with Capistrano Unified School District, Orange County United Way, and the City of Dana Point.

A financial literacy pilot program under Orange County United Way’s United for Financial Security initiative was launched in 2021 during the pandemic with four different cohorts and was offered to low-income and COVID-impacted parents of students at Capistrano Unified School District’s R.H. Dana Elementary School as well as other South County residents.

“This program has been wonderful for helping families increase their financial knowledge,” said Supt. Kirsten Vital Brulte. “We are excited to extend this partnership to assist additional Orange County families in becoming financially stable and finding ways to increase income and reduce debt.”

Participants worked one-on-one with a financial wellness specialist, attended a series of workshops to learn financial skills, and received laptops to build digital skills and ensure access to various resources. In the first year, the program helped 100 families that had an average annual household income of $31,179. Nearly 60 percent of participants increased their income by an average of $671 and nearly 30 percent of participants decreased their debt by an average of $322.

The pilot program was so successful and the need so great that its services will now be offered permanently at R.H. Dana Elementary School and Palisades Elementary Schools.

“The harsh reality is that many South Orange County families are facing financial and housing insecurity,” said Susan B. Parks, President, and CEO of Orange County United Way. “Through this now permanent Financial Literacy Program, we will be able to help these families improve their financial well-being and stability so that they, and their students can succeed.”

The current cohort, which ran through June 17, 2022, was full with 27 participants enrolled. The next cohort begins on June 20, 2022. The program is open to families with children at R.H. Dana Elementary or Palisades Elementary Schools as well as families who live in Dana Point or in communities in South Orange County.

For more information, contact Marcela Ticas at [email protected] or call 949-263-6178.

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