Financial Literacy for ALL!

By: Alice Murray

One of the best things about being at a higher education institution is the opportunity to turn your crazy ideas into reality. When I saw a group of middle school girls get onto the metro together one day, I was reminded of the World Bank’s Girl Effect – focusing on 12 year old girls to tackle issues surrounding poverty. How could this mentality be used domestically? How could I play a part in empowering girls at this crucial age to take ownership of their future and create a healthy and stable life for themselves and their families?

While it may not seem like the obvious answer, I landed on jewelry making. A skill that I have and am willing to share, beading offers entrepreneurial opportunities in a fun and creative format. The Public Service Grant Commission funded my project to bring basic financial literacy lessons to a group of girls at Washington Global Public Charter School through BEAD: Beading for Entrepreneurial Advancement and Development.

Every Thursday afternoon my girl gang meets to hear about a successful female entrepreneur, have discussions about profit, pricing strategy, and budgeting, and make some wearable art. At the end of the 10-week program we’ll be taking a field trip together to Eastern Market so sell the fruits of our labor and experience business in action.

It’s a small dent in a large issue. Financial literacy rates are lower in areas with lower median incomes, for minority populations, and among women and girls (see Social Security Administration Data here). Additionally, only 4% of Fortune 500 CEO’s are female ( and empowering girls in business continues to be important to major women’s rights activists like Melinda Gates.

Thanks to the Public Service Grant Commission I can try my hand at research-based interventions that face these intersectional issues head on. We are in the third week of our curriculum with a group of nine 6th and 7th grade girls. It will be exciting to evaluate this program at the end of the semester.

To get more news about BEAD follow Washington Global Public Charter School on social media here:

…and look out for future announcements about our Eastern Market sale date!


Work clothes beyond the pinstripe suit

By Melinda Hasbrouck

My commitment, Clothing for Everyone’s Success (CES), is a clothing drive that will collect alternative work clothes. Clothing drives focused on work clothes usually have donations of clothes a person wears in an office setting. People who need donated clothing work wear are not usually hired for office clothing settings. Many individuals are obtaining employment and providing food handling, janitorial and home aide services. These jobs tend to require a uniform (e.g., chef pants, oxford shirts, khakis, scrubs). In the Washington Metropolitan area, job training programs offer clothes from their clothes closets, but do not carry the clothes needed for a person to start service jobs that require a uniform (as described above).

I was inspired by this project from my own experiences of offering new hires positions in restaurants. Some people had to turn down the work because they did not have the clothing required to start work and did not have the money to buy the required clothes. My project targets poverty alleviation. I have created a partnership with Bread for the City to accept the donated items and maintain a clothing line separate for their employment program. I am very excited by this partnership because my family, friends and I have used their services in the past. I have applied for a Public Health Services Grant to help launch the initiative. This project does not require a lot of financial investment and I look forward to motivating individuals to volunteer for this program when we go live.