Meet the financial literacy leaders who are making a difference in their communities
Throughout Hispanic Heritage Month, CNBC, in partnership with Acorns, asked communities across America to nominate local financial literacy leaders who have demonstrated their commitment to educating those who are often left behind.
Hundreds of names were submitted, but only a few could be chosen. These leaders have spent countless hours improving the lives of the communities they serve. Each recognized leader received $100 towards an Acorns account and a financial literacy leadership digital badge.
New York’s Ruben Rivera wants to be an example for his young students, many of whom can identify with the Honduran immigrant, who himself attended one of the city’s Title 1 schools. Title 1 funding provides financial assistance to schools with a high percentage of children from low-income households.
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“I want to be an example for young students like me knowing that the only limits are the ones we put on ourselves by not dreaming big enough,” Rivera said.
Rivera began her teaching career at Harlem Children’s Zone, a nonprofit for the poorest children and families that offers free parenting workshops, preschool programs, and child-focused health programs in the neighborhood. historically black and Hispanic upper Manhattan.
Rivera drew on his experience teaching middle and high school in New York City, the nation’s largest public school system. He also spent time as a community school principal in the South Bronx. As Director of Professional Development at the Council of Economic Education, Rivera developed a number of programs around financial literacy.
During the pandemic, Rivera has created several digital lesson plans, including an elective online personal finance course for students at risk of not graduating on time. Over 10,000 teachers have accessed these webinars and lesson plans.
Rivera has served on numerous financial literacy panels, including the Council for Economic Education’s Advancing Financial Literacy for Young Americans alongside then-Secretary of Education Arne Duncan under the Obama administration.
Mary Barber teaches financial literacy math at Columbus International High School, a large urban public school in Columbus, Ohio. Many of Mary’s students are first-generation Americans or are new to the country. Some of his students come from as far away as Kenya, Nepal and Venezuela.
According to Barber, the lessons her students receive in her classroom are often taken home and shared with their parents.
“My students will go home and teach their parents what they learned in class about financial capability,” she said. “Most of the time, their parents are busy with more than one job and cannot acquire the knowledge themselves.”