This service-learning course provides students with the practical, theoretical, and contextual knowledge to be able to walk with and advocate for individuals experiencing poverty and housing insecurity. Students will learn to serve as financial coaches and learn about successful tools and habits for personal financial management. Students will have the opportunity to interface with Durham community leaders, who will join the course as guest speakers. Equipped by course readings, class discussions and training exercises, students will volunteer weekly with the Community Empowerment Fund (CEF).
CEF is a student-driven non-profit organization which pairs teams of volunteers (“advocates”) to work one-on-one with individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness (“members”). Building uniquely powerful and transformative relationships, advocates work alongside members to assist them in reaching goals, moving into independent housing, saving for significant assets, and achieving financial stability. Advocates directly deliver CEF’s supportive, holistic, and relationship-based financial capability-building services to members, serving as financial coaches and offering access to free financial products. CEF serves Orange and Durham Counties in North Carolina, leveraging the time and energy of 250 student volunteers from Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill to support over 450 current members.