Imaginative Tactics Engage Teens in the Money Matters: Make It CountSM Program
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SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As part of its mission to foster financial literacy as the underpinning of financial well-being, Charles Schwab Foundation has announced the 2010 winners of the Innovation Awards. The annual awards recognize unique and enterprising techniques for delivering the Money Matters: Make It Count curriculum, a Charles Schwab Foundation-funded financial education program taught in Boys & Girls Clubs around the country. One Boys & Girls Club was selected from each of the country’s five geographic regions for pioneering techniques that make learning about money management compelling and meaningful to today’s youth. The winners, which each receive a $3,000 grant, are:
While each winning club employs different strategies and tactics to teach critical personal finance skills, a common theme for all involves reaching outside the framework of the basic Money Matters curriculum to encourage hands-on, experiential learning. The different approaches include simulation of real-life financial decision-making, entrepreneurism and engagement of local business leaders.
For example, at Fort Hood Child & Youth Services in Texas, Money Matters is a part of the Club’s real-world simulation programming conducted in partnership with Prairie View University. During a two-hour workshop, the Club sets up activity stations inside its gym and exposes participants to different real-life choices at each station. Provided with a simulated income, each participant must make decisions about buying a home (and making mortgage payments) vs. renting, using credit cards, buying food and clothing, spending money on entertainment, and other issues such as whether to purchase lottery tickets. At the end of the workshop, Club members see how their money was spent and if the decisions they made resulted in money left over for expenses such as household emergencies, car repairs and college savings.
The Boys & Girls Club of Palm Beach County, Florida, worked with Palm Beach County business leaders on a weekly basis to establish mentorship in all aspects of running a business. It was through this experience that they came up with a business plan of their own, the Rise & Shine Food Co-Op. This teen-run business includes a garden on Club premises and bi-monthly distributions of fresh produce, meat, chicken, fish and dry goods. This venture was conceived as a result of a parent survey that identified putting food on the table as parents’ most pressing concern as well as from a consensus among the teens that earning money was the teens’ highest priority. The goal of this business was to provide high-quality food at low cost not only to Club families, but to the community at large. Through grants, the Club is able to provide salaries to the teens that help run Rise & Shine. Participants meet regularly to assess growth and determine solutions for any problems that arise.
“Through Money Matters, the evolution of Rise & Shine and subsequent grants, the Club has been able to provide more financial education to the teens involved in the program,” said BGCA Chief Professional Officer Mary O’Connor. “The Club has become a hub for the community, offering support for the children and families and fostering interaction that brings the neighborhood together.”
Community involvement is key to all the winning Clubs. At Waterville Area Boys & Girls Clubs, various partner agencies help the Club in teaching different aspects of the program, including developing a personal budget, opening checking and savings accounts and properly handling paychecks. Partner agencies help keep participants motivated through an extensive reward system in which they offer food, salaries, school credit, and job/college counseling. At Boys & Girls Clubs of Oshkosh, a representative from the local Citizens First Credit Union provides mentoring and helps teach the Money Matters curriculum. Program experiences are then integrated into many other Club programs and activities as a way to reinforce the lessons learned in the curriculum. For example, Money Matters graduates operate the Club concession stand and are responsible for managing its finances.
Like the Oshkosh Club, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County also incorporate entrepreneurship into the learning experience. There, the teens decided to launch and operate a candy business that they named “Candies R Us.” Business positions were established to determine president, vice president, finance manager, marketing manager and other company roles. In order to raise start-up capital, investors were sold shares. Throughout the five-month-long project, the teens held weekly meetings, made business decisions based on performance and adjusted the operating plan as needed. In the final month, the company readied for liquidation. Any outstanding product was written off as a loss. In the end, shareholders earned a 180 percent return on their initial investment.
“Our youth need to be prepared to further their post-high school education or to enter the workforce,” said Kenneth Quenzer, chief professional officer at the Fresno County Club. “We used the program and concept of entrepreneurship and economics to help our teens develop their current financial skills and apply them to real-world work experience.”
“Even the best financial education curriculum needs to incorporate ways to deepen impact with young people,” said Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, president of Charles Schwab Foundation. “The Innovation Awards recognize meaningful, new ways to reach teens and demonstrate real-life application of financial education. That’s what’s most important: making the lessons interesting and real so that these kids gain the knowledge and skills they’ll need to make good financial decisions throughout their lives.”
About Money Matters: Make It Count
Funded by Charles Schwab Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Money Matters program is designed to promote money management skills among teens, ages 13-18. The program consists of fun, interactive activities and exercises on topics such as using a checking account, managing debt, saving for college and learning the basics of investing. The program is targeted primarily at teens from underserved communities.
Nearly 245,000 youth at approximately 1,600 teen Boys & Girls Clubs across the U.S. have participated in Money Matters since the program’s launch in mid-2004. In addition, over the past five years, Charles Schwab foundation has presented a cumulative total of $345,000 in scholarships to 167 Club teens who completed Money Matters and demonstrated exceptional financial skills from their newly acquired knowledge of personal finance.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (www.bgca.org) has enabled young people, especially those who need Clubs most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, some 4,000 Boys & Girls Clubs serve more than 4.2 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs can be found throughout the country and on U.S. military installations worldwide, providing young people 6-18 years old with guidance-oriented character development programs conducted by trained, professional staff. Key programs emphasize leadership development; education and career exploration; community service; technology training; financial literacy; health and life skills; the arts; sports, fitness and recreation; and family outreach. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta.
About Charles Schwab Foundation
Charles Schwab Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization funded by the Charles Schwab Corporation. Its mission is to create positive change through financial education, philanthropy, and volunteerism. More information is available at www.aboutschwab.com/community. (0910-6089)
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