For 17-year-old Sowda Darbane, learning about goal-setting, budgeting, saving and avoiding predatory lenders is essential to realizing her dream of becoming a family doctor.
Sowda was three years old when her family was airlifted out of Somalia to a refugee camp in Kenya, where she learned over ten years that life can be hard.
Enrolling in My Money, My Life, Sowda realized she had plenty to learn, and quickly.
At Tuesday's final class, Sowda and five other refugees, along with twelve lower-income non-Somalis, discussed the pitfalls of dealing with certain payday lending, check cashing and rent-to-own enterprises.
At graduation, Sowda was joined by Ralia, her mother, two sisters and a brother, who watched in awe as she received a symbolic piggy bank and a fee-free passbook savings account with a complimentary $100 deposit from Laurel Savings Bank.
Don't give up your hopes," a beaming Sowda said as she held her piggy bank high, adding that she intends to enroll in a new, advanced class of My Money, My Life that provides $200 upon graduation.