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Bread for the City Social Worker Shows Clients How to Make “Money Moves”

My name is Melissa Palms, and I am currently a Wellness Coordinator in the Women Empowered program at Bread for the City. This means that I work with women to help them achieve overall wellness, health, physical, mental and financial. I became interested in financial social work because of my individual interest in changing my personal money habits. It was an aha moment: the answer to the question of “how can I change my financial habits and help others?”

I found that personal growth often transfers to the clients you work with in the social service field.  I was afforded the opportunity to attend a Financial Social Work Certification course at the University of Maryland, Baltimore to learn more about the practice.  Classes were held once a month for nine months. With Bread for the City’s assistance, I obtained a grant through TD Bank’s Community Reinvestment Act to pay for the course.

I am proud to say that I’m now a member of the inaugural Financial Social Work Certification Class of  the University of Maryland, Baltimore. The certification in Financial Social Work was developed to empower individuals to make healthy long-term money habits and to educate and support professionals who wish to provide a strength-based, psychosocial approach to financial wellbeing to their clients.

After obtaining  my certification, I started teaching a monthly session of financial wellness that I coined“Money Moves.”  In Money Moves, I teach clients about the myths and facts of credit, budgeting, importance of life insurance to build wealth, and other topics surrounding money. Basically, I help clients learn how to improve their financial literacy.

Financial literacy is defined as “the education and understanding of knowing how money is made, spent, and saved, as well as the skills and ability to use financial resources to make decisions.” These decisions include how to generate, invest, spend, and save money. The majority of  Bread for the City’s clients are on limited or fixed incomes, so they often ask “How can I save money?” or tell me “I do not have any money to save.” Money Moves helps answer these questions. Financial wellness means something different for everyone, and the unique thing about Money Moves is that it  educates individuals on how to work with whatever they have to achieve financial wellness.


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