Kaan Yarar

Business student Kaan Yarar has already performed service work in Africa and South America, and after graduating in May, he’ll go wherever the Peace Corp sends him. But until then, he’s focusing his anti-poverty efforts closer to home.

Halfway through a yearlong financial coaching fellowship at the Capital Good Fund, he’s working on the FC + Schools project. It’s 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.

“The goal is to make them become financially stable and teach them about the banking system,” Kaan said. He and other coaches work with primarily low-income, minority, working parents who commit to the program.

Initially, his clients were hesitant about discussing such personal topics. But after the first session, they were as excited about the project as he was. “The hardest part is starting. 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.”

It’s that kind of passion that drives Kaan, an outgoing campus tour guide and orientation leader, to work toward 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.

His experiences at URI have helped solidify what Kaan, who hopes to become a lawyer and work for a non-profit, wants to do with his life. “At URI, I feel empowered by the inclusive environment. It’s a place of experimentation and learning, an open environment for all those things.”