When I left Brooklyn to start college just 50 miles away in upstate New York, it might as well have been in a different world. The move and my college experience created a wealth of new opportunities for me. I met—and learned from—people outside my circle and culture, who navigated life in such different ways.

The foundation that a strong education offers helps you create opportunities that last a lifetime. In my professional life, I try to bring some of these same opportunities to the communities we serve.

In many respects, working in the housing industry to provide financial education reminds me of my college experience and the new horizons it represented. We help open doors in the community by teaching financial literacy, so that families can prepare to become successful homeowners. We interact and partner with a broad range of groups serving African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and underserved populations.

The old adage that education is key to your future is just as true in the world of housing and homeownership. Through partnerships with community organizations and lenders, we’ve developed a financial education curriculum for families across the nation to increase housing opportunities for underserved households and communities. They help people understand, obtain, and maintain good credit—the key to a successful financial future.

Over the years, I’ve continued to work first-hand with prospective homebuyers, volunteering as a bilingual homebuyer education instructor for NeighborWorks America. Employees also partner with local nonprofits as volunteers teaching financial classes to young people. It’s an opportunity to learn, grow, and step outside of one’s environment. It’s also a compelling reminder of the important facets of education and how key financial education is to family stability, wealth building, and a better future.