Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council of NSW

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My Money Dream fosters financial knowledge and literacy at The Glen

November 19th, 2020

Categories: Blog

The team at The Glen Centre are a passionate bunch. Helping people be their best self is what motivates them. Their successful 12-week drug and alcohol rehabilitation program includes individual and group counselling on education support, work programs, specialised services for grief, trauma, financial, gambling and anger management.

Early this year, The Glen Centre introduced My Money Dream – a series of educational modules to help clients build money management skills and reduce their financial stress. Financial literacy is important. It plays a crucial role, and can help increase mental health, well-being and reduce substance abuse in the long term.

“We haven’t had the opportunity to learn from our parents, or grandparents on how to manage money. White fellas have been having money conversations for hundreds of years, while Aboriginal people have worked on a different platform for tens of thousands of years, ”said Chris.

Developed by the First Nations Foundation, My Money Dream aims to bridge the financial literacy gap between Indigenous Australians and the general population. The modules include money and culture, budgeting, banking, superannuation, insurance, loans, and credit, buying a home, buying a car and financial first-aid.

While at a conference, Josh realised the modules allowed for a culturally safe way to start a conversation about money. Working together, the team decided to bring money talk to the table. The structured online content and individual, online budgeting tools for their clients made the program stand out.

“It’s just a win to have a conversation about money. We start yarning, and people can share their stories in a safe and non-judging environment. We have all made poor money choices in the past. It’s how we manage our money moving forward that matters,” said Josh.

Aboriginal culture is centred on family and tribe. It focuses on the success of the Community, over personal wealth and the financial success of individuals. The online modules outline how traditional Aboriginal values relating to money are the polar opposite to western societal values.

“It explains why we are in the situation we are in. It sets the historic context and then helps us move forward with budgeting tools and skills on how to say no to the mob!” said Chris.

The supportive environment fostered at The Glen is the perfect setting to start these conversations. Clients can use the online My Money Dream tools in private, or choose to join in the group discussion. The flexibility of having online modules increases engagement, allowing people to come back in their own time. The 12-month license to access the online financial tools means people can continue to harness their financial knowledge after they leave the rehabilitation program.

“No one likes the word budget. By the end of the program, we see a shift. The word budget is a good word –  a way to decide where you want to spend your money – nappies or alcohol?” said Josh.

The Glen team will continue to offer the My Money Dream modules as part of their 12-week drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. While some people may never think about budgeting again, it has helped others to change their financial mindset and behaviours. Some collect receipts to track their spending habits. Others ask a trusted family member to oversee their finances.

“It’s more than just modules. It’s about helping people minimise stress in their daily lives. As part of our outreach patient program, we ask if having a budget has improved their mental health, relationships and reduced their substance abuse,” said Marty.

“It is fantastic to see our clients have a light-bulb moment, when they get the power of budgeting. The modules have also helped our staff improve their financial literacy too,” said Joe.

The Glen has made a positive contribution to a much broader vision to increase the financial knowledge and skills of Indigenous Australians, to ensure they can best manage their finances into the future.


Thank you to The Glen for their commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of their clients and for sharing their story with us.

The AH&MRC invites all Member Services to learn more about the My Money Dream educational modules by contacting Public Health Officer, Zoe Mead on zmead@ahmrc.org.au for more information.

 

 

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