Toronto duo aims to enthuse marginalized youth about finances

Entrepreneurs Craig Brown and Dean Chambers aim to pay it forward by helping marginalized youth with finances

Toronto duo aims to enthuse marginalized youth about finances
Steve Randall

The marginalized young people of the Greater Toronto Area are a group that would be hard to reach for most financial advisors.

But two entrepreneurs who grew up in exactly the kind of Toronto neighbourhoods where these young people are, hope that they can engage and enthuse this upcoming generation about finances.

Craig Brown and Dean Chambers have already successfully launched a book called Don’t Be A Waste Yute: The Financial Literacy Guide, which focuses on minimizing young adults from being labelled as "waste yutes" (a youthful person who has failed to use their time wisely) through financial literacy.

“One of the biggest problems in our community is self-sabotage around money. So many people are spending recklessly with no planning for the future,” says Brown. “Finance is intimidating and doesn't always register with young people. We need to connect with our community so they can learn to invest in themselves. The more we educate ourselves on finance the more likely our communities will thrive.”

Their new platform Checks Over Strikes combines online and in-person learning with mentorship opportunities from local businesses to break down the fundamentals on everything from credit and savings to investing and financial planning.

Bad borrowing 

The duo’s experience in Toronto neighbourhoods of Jane and Finch and Trethewey/Lawrence Heights involved bad borrowing behaviours such as same-day loans, bad credit, and overwhelming debt.

They are using podcasts and social media to deliver their financial literacy program in a fun but information way.

“Growing up as a young Black man in Jane and Finch, there was not a lot of talk about finance. I wish someone sat me down and went through the risk of credit and the basics of making your money work for you,” said Chambers. “Our community has been the hardest hit by COVID-19, and we want to make sure our young people are fully prepared for the new economic realities that lay ahead.”