Last Friday, Carizon Family and Community Services hosted a public recognition event, celebrating the completion of their Healthy Wallet, Wealthy Mind pilot program, supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF). Local MPP Laura Mae Lindo and OTF Grant Review Team member Brendan Wylie-Toal were on hand to congratulate Carizon and hear more about how the $75,000 Seed grant helped develop an interactive course that combines financial literacy and emotional wellbeing.
“It’s an honour to join the Carizon team in celebrating their innovative, Ontario Trillium Foundation funded Healthy Wallets, Wealthy Minds pilot project,” said Laura Mae Lindo, MPP for Kitchener Centre. “This project is an upstream solution for the very real challenges everyday people in Waterloo Region are facing as their personal and family budgets are being squeezed. I’m encouraged by the approach and results of the pilot project and will personally advocate for further investment in programs that make the connection between financial literacy and mental well-being.”
Over the past year, Carizon has piloted the innovative Healthy Wallet, Wealthy Mind program which blends both financial and emotional literacy to teach people how their emotional management skills have a large impact on their financial decisions. The OTF Seed grant of allowed Carizon to operate two multi-week groups and two workshops for individuals, families, and youth. All program participants responded that they feel more capable of managing their financial stress and 60% feel more confident managing their money and sticking to a personal budget.
In planning for the OTF grant, 120 people completed a general survey about financial literacy, where over 50% of respondents rated their current level of financial stress as severe to overwhelming. This is an unnecessary stressor that Carizon is working to relieve.
“The correlation between finances and mental health is growing. People in our community are struggling to manage their basic needs such as buying groceries, paying rent and juggling other wants and needs” says Debbie Engel (photo), Director of Community Services. “Programs such as Healthy Wallets, Wealthy Minds help people see the connections between finances and mental health and give them the opportunity to develop new skills and coping strategies.”