Families in San Juan Capistrano looking for fiscal guidance can turn to a “financial empowerment” center at Kinoshita Elementary School.
Community dignitaries celebrated the new center on Wednesday, May 10, with a ribbon-cutting at the campus. The center was made possible through a partnership between Orange County United Way, Capistrano Unified School District, and Pacific Life Foundation—the last of which is contributing $750,000 towards the site over a five-year period.
The Kinoshita Elementary resource is part of Orange County United Way’s SparkPoint OC program, which provides low-income families with access to free personal financial coaching and resources. The San Juan site is the second SparkPoint OC location in South Orange County and eighth overall in Orange County.
Orange County United Way CEO Sue Parks said the program started in 2012.
“It’s a program about accountability. It’s a program about having goals,” Parks said. “It’s a program about personal responsibility.”
Families can use the center to identify the financial tools they have available, get individual coaching, and receive fiscal training.
“All of this will help increase income,” Parks said. “There’s close to 3,000 households that we’ve helped here in Orange County with this program.”
Orange County United Way has previously worked with CUSD through a similar program at RH Dana Elementary School in Dana Point.
“With this (Kinoshita Elementary site), I feel we are bringing that overarching component that we need in life, in order for our families to reach to their potential, for our children to reach their potential,” Principal Jacqueline Campbell said.
Cary Johnson, CUSD Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, said the collaboration can change the life trajectories for parents and students.
“It takes a community, a village, to have a school be successful,” Pacific Life Foundation President Tennyson Oyler said. “That’s something as a parent and volunteer at my kid’s school that I’ve seen firsthand. This is why we’re excited to be here today, to have SparkPoint join this school. If we can help families be successful, we know the kids are going to be successful.”
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