ASPIRE Initiative FAQ
Who can participate in ASPIRE?
You can participate in ASPIRE if you’re between the ages of 14-26 and have spent at least one day after your 14th birthday in an out-of-home DCYF placement.
What do I get out of participating?
You’ll get $100 to open an Individual Development Account (IDA) with Citizens Bank and a dollar-for-dollar match, up to $1,000 per year, toward the purchase of approved items. You can also receive $40 every April and October for completing our Opportunity Passport Participant Survey (OPPS): https://webserv2.metishost.com/YouthOpps/Login.aspx.
You’ll also get support from ASPIRE staff on setting and achieving your savings and asset goals.
What are the program requirements?
- You must have a valid state identification card, driver’s license, driver's permit or passport to open a Citizens Bank IDA savings account and actively participate in this program. If you don’t have any of these, contact ASPIRE staff who may be able to assist you or work with your DCYF social worker to help you get the needed documents.
- You must take eight hours of financial education classes.
- You must regularly save money toward achieving your savings and purchase goals.
- You must notify program staff of any changes in your contact information.
- Further requirements are outlined in the Participant Letter of Agreement that you’ll review and sign during financial education classes.
What topics are covered in financial education classes?
Topics covered in ASPIRE financial education training include
- creating and managing a personal budget
- prioritizing needs vs. wants
- understanding the importance of saving money
- interpreting your paycheck
- realizing the importance of your credit score
- and much more
Classes feature fun games-and free pizza!
How do I match my money?
If you have actively deposited money into your IDA account for at least 3 out of the last 6 months, and you have saved half the money required for your goal, you’re ready for a match. First, contact the ASPIRE staff when you anticipate making a match to make sure you understand the process and the required paperwork. You should call ahead to make an appointment when you are ready to make an approved purchase.
Then, you’ll meet with ASPIRE staff to show documentation on the actual cost of the item needed. You’ll complete a Qualified IDA Withdrawal Request Form and may be required to provide other documentation for the match. ASPIRE will make out a check to the organization or person selling the item you want, matching your money dollar-for-dollar up to a maximum of $1,000 per year. Checks can sometimes take up to one week to process and are never given out on the same day as the request.
What kinds of things are approved for matching?
You can match for eight different spending needs:
- Housing down payment or rent deposit (if you are not in the YESS program)
- Education or training costs, including laptop and books
- Investments, such as stocks, 401(k)s, IRAs, and CDs
- Medical, dental, or health expenses (current or past)
- Car purchase or registration
- Small business start-up (a business plan is required for review)
- Insurance (life, renter’s, health, or car)
- Credit building and credit repair
How do I open a bank account?
You will complete account opening paperwork during financial education class, and ASPIRE staff will open a Citizens Bank Individual Development Account (IDA) on your behalf. Once ASPIRE staff open the account for you, the account is yours alone. It can take up to two weeks to process the bank paperwork. You will be contacted with your account number once it is open.
How do I take the April and October survey for $40?
Each April and October, ASPIRE participants are strongly encouraged to take an Opportunity Passport Participant Survey (OPPS). You can find it online at https://webserv2.metishost.com/YouthOpps/Login.aspx. After you take the survey, $20 will be deposited directly into your Citizens IDA; the other $20 can also be deposited-or you can choose to have it paid directly to you by check.
What is the referral/application process?
Anyone can refer a young person to the program. Please complete and submit the ASPIRE Initiative Referral Form (PDF): English | Español. The completed form can also be printed and faxed to 401.438.3901 or emailed to email@example.com.
Once the form is received, the youth will be sent a welcome letter along with information on upcoming financial education trainings. When the participant determines dates that work for his or her schedule, he or she needs to register for the classes they plan to attend.
Who can I contact for more information or with questions?
Contact Victoria Ferrara, ASPIRE Youth Services Coordinator, at 401.438.3900 ext. 105 or firstname.lastname@example.org.