Operation HOPE Empowers African Refugees with Banking on Our Future

The process of immigration to the United States can often be disheartening when incomers are not given an accurate picture of American life. Immigrants from less affluent countries might leave their homes in hopes of sending money home to family and friends.

Yet often these individuals are inadequately prepared for barriers to wealth like the high cost of living and an unfamiliarity with American economic life. A minimum wage job that hardly covers an individual’s cost of living can’t help immigrants build wealth and help their families live better lives.

Operation HOPE’s Banking on our Future seeks to help newcomers get a better sense of American life, helping students and clients overcome the cultural and economic shift from life abroad to life in the U.S. With a grant from Bank on Denver and the help of KeyBank, Banking on Our Future Denver educated 30 recently resettled refugees from the African Community Center’s employment training programs. This cultural shift became apparent for volunteers when class curriculum was modified to expose clients to American financial life. Through the help of interpreters translating 9 different languages, class participants learned how a drive through bank teller works and saw bank vaults in action.

Meg Barrit Resettlement Programs Manager writes, “We’re really thrilled that you’ve been able to bring key financial education concepts to our participants. I think they like this knowledge and power; this type of work really does enable them to be more successful in the U.S.”

With HOPE, immigrants will not only achieve personal goals to assimilate into American life, gaining wealth and knowledge, but in turn will be able to spread their gains to family members abroad. By educating an individual, we spread wealth to community of individuals with the potential to grow and give back.

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