USF student clubs spreading financial literacy to Joliet youth

A University of St. Francis (USF) student club is making it its mission to spread financial literacy to the youth in the community. FREE (Financial Research and Education through Experience) has visited four business classes at Joliet West High School, visits weekly with students at the Warren Sharpe Community Center and is partnering with another USF student group to increase its outreach opportunities.

The FREE and Brother 2 Brother (B2B) organizations are very much aware of the importance of financial literacy among kids of all ages 6-16 and will host a “Fun with Finance” event on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at the Warren Sharpe Community Center. “These two student organizations are prime examples of the impact university students are having on our community,” said President Michael Vinciguerra. “They’re assisting youth from low-income and at-risk families while learning themselves, which is in keeping with the university’s mission, values and commitment to service learning.”
Samantha Cepl, of Joliet, is the vice president of FREE.

“FREE is committed to helping kids locally with personal finance because a key to helping at-risk youth overcome their struggles is to provide an outlet for children to become involved educationally and feel valued,” she said. “FREE’s goal is to equip youth with the right skills to be able to make clear choices when it comes to personal finance.”

Joseph Robinson, FREE’s community outreach officer, said he has a personal connection to the youth his organization is assisting. “I see Warren Sharpe as a great opportunity for implementing our outreach efforts because I was once an at-risk kid growing up on the south side of Joliet where no one made me aware of the importance of education,” he said. Learn more about FREE on its blog at