Based on an enduring promise he made to a brother who died four decades ago, Nicholas Josey is teaching a small classroom of young people how to prepare for a life of financial responsibility. “Who is the most important person in this room?” asks Josey, a 1990 Northeastern graduate who is executive director of the Vincita Institute, a non-profit financial education organization based in Boston. The answer, he says to each student, is you.
Josey wants the students, ages 14 through 19, to assert their own importance—to handle money in ways that will empower them throughout their lives.
The weekly classes in financial literacy are held at Northeastern Crossing in partnership with Madison Park Development Corporation (MPDC), a 56-year-old nonprofit organization in Roxbury, a community that neighbors Northeastern’s Boston campus. Yhinny Matos, a youth workforce manager at MPDC, recognized the need for a course in financial independence based on a survey of people in the community. Her findings led Matos to create courses that focus on finance, creative industries, health care, law, and construction.
“I called it career path exchange, which are the five basic career paths that the young people were really receptive to,” Matos says. “We were able to implement a lot of different strategies and goals in-person, and I can’t be thankful enough to Northeastern for allowing us to use Northeastern Crossing. It has made [the course] more socially interactive.”
Matos worked with Carl Barrows, director of Northeastern’s Youth Development and Initiative Project. He turned to Josey, who had been working with Northeastern’s City and Community Engagement department for several years.