I'm not trying to kill your dreams...


Brandon Copeland is a linebacker for the New York Jets and has an interesting side gig. Last spring semester he spent Mondays in a University of Pennsylvania classroom teaching a class in financial literacy with Dr. Brian Peterson. The class, called “Life 101,” was created to give college students practical lessons on finances, such as budgeting and investing, like understanding the benefits of a traditional 401K or a Roth IRA. Copeland is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, interned 2 summers at UBS and runs his own real-estate business. 

“I don’t care if you’re an engineering student, a nursing student, if you’re going to build rockets when you grow up or if you’re going to sweep floors,” Copeland said. “You’re going to have to use something in this class.” Copeland practices what he preaches; he has saved 90% of his income. Copeland has a special way of connecting with students and many of them were surprised at his teaching skills. "The point is to go through the realities of life and all these things we have to deal with," he said. "If you make a financial mistake, you can end up paying for that mistake for 30 years of your life. The goal is to have the students in my class be able to make these big decisions and make them more confidently. I tell them, 'I'm not trying to kill your dreams — I'm trying to enable your dreams.'"

Financial literacy is not just important to college students in the United States. Impact Network has partnered with Mwabu and Financial Sector Deepening Zambia (FSDZ) to deliver a financial education curriculum for both school learners and young women in Zambia. The project, started earlier this year, involves creating a blended learning and certification program that combines face-to-face and virtual education. The lessons have been well received and appreciated by each group involved, with participants feeling that what they had learned would help them to plan, save and budget their money.

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The aim of the project is to reach 15,000 learners and it will wrap up later this year. Project facilitators are excited about the impact, as one of them noted, the content includes “knowing the basics of money, being financially fit, developing good financial habits and being able to save money. Financial education is important to women and girls of Katete because it will help them become confident and make good financial decisions. My greater hopes for this project are that women and girls will have greater income opportunities across Katete and Zambia at large.”