Why You Should Care About C.A.R.E.

by Daniel Etlinger

What’s better than even the best reaction to a financial problem? Preventing it altogether of course. That philosophy is what has fueled the creation of the Credit Abuse Resistance Education (or C.A.R.E. for short), a national, nonprofit financial literacy organization. Created by John C. Ninfo, II, retired bankruptcy judge from Rochester, New York (my hometown!), the program has been running since 2002 and blossomed to roughly 55 chapters nationwide. These include Florida chapters in Gainesville, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Pensacola, Sarasota, Tallahassee and Tampa.

At its core, C.A.R.E. provides an opportunity for volunteers to address middle school, high school and college kids about the best practices and pitfalls regarding their credit in an attempt to start them off on the right path. Each C.A.R.E. presentation conforms to the National Standards in K-12 Personal Finance Education developed by the National Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. In addition, the C.A.R.E. website  provides a wealth of resources at no additional charge including PowerPoint presentations, outlines, videos, Q&As, games and other materials that can be tailored to specific audiences.

The Tampa chapter in particular launched 15 years ago in 2007. It was originally spearheaded by Judge Rodney May (now retired) who has passed the torch to Judges Catherine McEwen and Michael Hooi. Reinvigorated by the recent Dorothy L. Hukill Financial Literacy Act which passed in 2022, the Tampa Bay Bankruptcy Bar Association has added a specific board position to act as the C.A.R.E. liaison for the community. Daniel Etlinger of Jennis Morse Etlinger will serve in that role. The position, among other things, will help quarterback those organizations desirous of hosting a presentation and volunteers who want to present.

This is where you can step in to make a difference. If you have a connection with a school – middle school, high school, college or trade school – or a youth organization – such as the scouts, church or synagogue, mentoring programs, or sports and rec leagues – we would love an introduction. Or, if you are interested in being one of our presenters we are happy to discuss further. Anyone who has a passion for helping others is welcomed and in the past has included bankruptcy judges and attorneys, trustees, CPAs and others in the financial space. We will start you off with the materials and tools necessary to make your own. In either case, please contact the TBBBA’s C.A.R.E. member Daniel Etlinger at 813-229-2800 or detlinger@jennislaw.com.