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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Business student and financial coaching fellow at Providence’s Capital Good Fund has goal of reducing poverty locally, globally

Media Contact: Ericka Tavares, 401-874-2935

KINGSTON, R.I., Jan. 29, 2014 --- While many of his fellow business students at the University of Rhode Island have internships that may lead to careers on Wall Street, Kaan Yarar is halfway through a yearlong financial coaching fellowship at the Capital Good Fund in Providence. It is another step in reaching his personal goal of reducing poverty in Rhode Island, the United States, and beyond.

Yarar, 22, will graduate from URI’s College of Business Administration in May and is looking forward to joining the Peace Corps. He is waiting to find out where he will be stationed, which could be anywhere in the world. That is fine for a student who spent the first half of his gap year before starting at URI in Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania, building and painting schools and volunteering at an AIDS orphanage through Carpe Diem International Education.

“The genocide there was so new,” he remarked about his time in Rwanda. “You really felt how recent it was and could see how a culture rebounds.”

He spent the other half of his gap year in Peru, working with street children who are not part of the educational system, an experience arranged by the Center for Interim Programs. He said meeting youngsters in the country’s notorious barrios who were desperate for an education was in stark contrast to his experience growing up in the affluent community of Wayne, N.J.

“I see these kids who want school so badly,” he said of the children in Peru, “and we have something here, education and access for all, but we don’t know how valuable it is.”

The gap year and his years at URI have helped solidify what Yarar, who is interested in so many different things, wanted to do with his life, his own big idea.

“I want to help achieve a gradual reduction of poverty globally and specifically in the United States through making education accessible to everyone,” he said.

The Capital Good Fund is a non-profit that offers financial services to help low-income Americans escape poverty. Yarar is working on the FC + Schools project, a study with the Providence School System that works from the premise that a child in a financially stable home is more likely to succeed. Over a year, Yarar and other coaches are working with primarily low-income, minority, working parents who commit to the program.

“The goal is to make them become financially stable and teach them about the banking system, debt, good versus bad credit, health insurance, personal finance, and more,” he said. “ The Capital Good Fund does an incredible job of breaking down financial areas so clients will see vast improvement in their own situations.”

In the beginning, many clients were understandably hesitant about discussing such personal topics. But after the first session, he said, they were as excited about the project as he was.

“The hardest part is starting,” he said. “But we are really talking about how we can make our lives better. We are tackling systematic inequalities and, by making a small change, I am doing what I can.”

From these varied experiences, Yarar, a marketing major who has completed internships for the URI College of Business Administration and the New Jersey Devils, has decided on a career in the non-profit world, possibly as a lawyer. He credits his international service work and URI, where he was a tour guide and orientation leader, with helping him figure out his life’s work.

“At URI, I feel empowered by the inclusive environment,” he said. “It’s a place of experimentation and learning, an open environment for all those things.”

He credited the College of Business Administration with expanding his perspective. Specifically, Yarar praised Business Law Professor Michael DeAngelis for motivating him to think about issues from multiple perspectives so he is able to see “the other side.” And he singled out PhD student Rama Kompella for his Business and Sustainable Society course, which acknowledged multiple opinions and multiple solutions.

For more information visit Capital Good Fund.

Marketing & Communications photo by Michael Salerno Photography.