The Center for Smart Financial Choices S.A.P. P. Institute is pleased to announce the five winners from its 2016 Financial Education Scholarship competition. After a lengthy and formal review by our selection committee, the following applicants were chosen based on their hard work and potential to succeed in higher education.
The adult scholarship award of $2000 goes to Stephanie Martin, a current freshman at UNC Chapel Hill working towards a BS in Biology, with minors in Chemistry and Medical Anthropology. The selection committee was particularly impressed with her realistic yet ambitious vision for her future in the medical field, her strong articulation of financial lessons learned and the value of the scholarship classes, and her dedication to community service and demonstration of leadership skills. They have no doubt that she will make it in the medical field and felt confident awarding her the $2000 to help her achieve her educational goals.
Greizy Beckles is the recipient of our Hispanic/Latino scholarship award of $2000. Greizy is in her second year at UNC Greensboro pursuing a degree in Social Work with hopes of being able to give back to her community. The selection committee was impressed by this young lady’s practical and meaningful essay which highlighted the steps she has already taken to building and maintaining good credit and utilizing a budget to plug spending leaks. She is living out the principle of saving more money than she spends in order to become financially stable.
The top youth scholarship award of $2000 goes to Marie Carroll, a young lady currently attending West Forsyth High School with plans of attending either UNC Chapel Hill or Northwestern University to pursue a BA in Economics. From being an accomplished cello player to studying Korean in Seoul for a summer to being the President of the Science Honors Society, she will be entering college with a wide array of life experiences and accomplishments—including an unweighted GPA of 3.98. The selection committee admired her detailed plan for saving money during college and graduating without extreme debt and were thrilled to offer her the $2000 award to continue her educational dreams.
One of our $1000 youth scholarship awards goes to Jake Gigliotti, a current student at Early College of Forsyth County with plans to attend either UNC Chapel Hill or Princeton to study Biology. He will be graduating high school with an unweighted GPA of 4.0 and the selection committee had no misgivings about his ability to complete a difficult course of study at either of these prestigious universities. They were impressed with his drive, leadership and volunteer experience including being an Eagle Scout and the Treasurer for his school’s National Honor Society.
The second winner of our $1000 youth scholarship award goes to Jake Browne, a young man at Reagan High School who plans to pursue a degree in Computer Science at UNC Chapel Hill. The selection committee was impressed with his creative and strategic plan for completing college without a burdensome debt load; as the Vice President of the Young Democrats of Forsyth County, he hopes to use his experience in political advocacy, leadership and money management skills to help navigate through the next four years of college.
We are very proud of the winners, as well as all 33 applicants who completed the process, and hope that everyone will continue to make smart financial choices as they pursue their education goals. Congratulations 2016 Scholarship winners!
First Annual Giving Day Events: April 26, 2016
The Center for Smart Financial Choices (CFSFC) has partnered with the Winston Salem Forsyth County School System (WSFCS) for the past four years to provide free financial education workshops in elementary and high schools throughout the county. Andrew Kraft, CFSFC Board Chairman and Program Manager for K-12 Social Studies, where financial literacy is taught, indicated a need for a financial curriculum that social studies teachers could use for middle school students ages 11-13.
Mr. Kraft and his team, Courtney Tuck, Middle School Social Studies Instructional Coach and Melissa McGready, High School Social Studies Instructional Coach recruited six experienced middle school teachers to write, teach and report on the effectiveness of the curriculum in the classroom.
The teachers used an Inquiry Design Model which incorporates a compelling question as the basis of the curriculum. The questions were designed to stimulate discussion and serve as the theme of the unit. The questions are as follows:
- Sixth Grade- What Is the Impact of Economic Decisions On the Quality Of Life?
- Seventh Grade- What Controls Personal Choices?
- Eighth Grade- Are You Ready For Tomorrow?
The finale of the curriculum is a civic action component that requires students to connect their learning to the real world. Danielle Boyst of Wiley Middle School shared her thoughts on the impact of the curriculum, “As a teacher in a Title I school, I have daily contact with students and parents in the lower economic spectrum. A lot of my students are already aware of the lack of finances or the struggle their parents and guardians incur. The personal finance unit was written as a way to provide resources not only for the students but for the family as a whole. This will be beneficial for students to begin dialogue in the home about financial choices with their parents. It will also help the family make better financial decisions and develop successful habits in the future.”
CFSFC’s S.A.P.P. Institute is planning to extend this curriculum to all Forsyth County Middle Schools in the 2016-2017 school year. Kimberly Brendle of Paisley Middle School noted, “The curriculum will be a guide to consistently teach the required economic standards across our county. These lessons will provide a structure for teachers and will facilitate the learning of the standards for all our students.”
We would like to thank Kimberly Brendle of Paisley Middle School and Jennifer Church of Jefferson Middle School; Brittany Barnes-Polk of Walkertown Middle School and Brad Freeman from Northwest Middle School; and Nicholas Arzillo of Hanes Middle School and Danielle Boyst of Wiley Middle for their brilliant work in incorporating financial competencies into the social studies curriculum.
Contact Betty Ann Falkner, CFSFC Director by phone 336.734.6919 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on bringing this curriculum to your school district.
The Center for Smart Financial Choices (CFSFC) is excited to announce its third year of providing scholarship opportunities for high school seniors and adult college students. Through the Mary Carol Sapp & Johnston Financial Education Scholarship Program, a total of $8,000 is available to eligible students for the 2016 – 2017 school year.
The distinguishing piece of this scholarship program is the requirement of all applicants to attend financial education classes offered by the Center. “The aim is not just to provide funds to pay for college, but to also cultivate financial competencies that will stick with each applicant long after they graduate from college,” says Leslie Moser, Youth Program Educator for the Center.
The initial deadline to apply for the scholarship opportunity and to submit the $15 membership fee to the Center is February 25th, 2016. The secondary deadline to complete classes and submit supplemental information (transcripts, acceptance letter, summary of achievements, essay) is April 18th, 2016.
The scholarships offered include:
- One $2,000 award for any youth planning on attending college
- Two $1,000 awards for any youth planning on attending college.
- One $2,000 award for any Hispanic/Latino youth planning on or attending college for a first bachelor’s degree
- One $2,000 award for any adult pursuing a technical or vocational education, an associate’s degree, or a first bachelor’s degree
Applicants will be evaluated by the Center’s selection committee based on demonstrated academic ability (minimum unweighted GPA of 3.0), personal achievements, community involvement, and demonstrated writing ability in a 500-word essay written in response to the required financial education classes.
“As an organization that strives to teach youth how to make smart financial decisions and avoid debt, it only makes sense that we should offer the tools and resources to help students achieve these goals. The Center is so excited to be able to offer two additional scholarships this year and we hope to get a surplus of applicants who wish to take advantage of this opportunity,” says Leslie Moser.
If you are a college-bound high school senior or an adult currently pursuing further education, download the initial application form- Application for Scholarship Opportunity-2016 to make the most of this great opportunity!
Taxpayers across America once again will have a chance to win cash prizes just by saving a portion of their tax refund through the Save Your Refund campaign, thanks to a new partnership between the Doorways To Dreams Fund (D2D) and America Saves, an initiative of the Consumer Federation of America.
The Save Your Refund campaign creates fun and exciting incentives for Americans to save at tax time, when households making less than $50,000 claim $100 billion in federal tax refunds. For many individuals and families, that tax refund is the largest check that they will receive all year. A chance to win a $25,000 grand prize or one of 100 smaller weekly prizes has proven to be enough to turn saving skeptics into savings winners.
The new partnership ensures the program will be able to have an even greater reach in 2016. America Saves will promote the program to an extensive network of volunteer income tax assistance (vita) sites, where taxpayers can learn about the savings prizes and get free help filing returns. Assistance and information will also be available through other VITA, volunteer, and community offices.
“Save Your Refund changes lives for the better, by letting people see for themselves that saving, even in small amounts, is possible and that they can take a positive step for their future,” said Tim Flacked, D2D Executive Director. “We’re excited to work closely with America Saves to bring fun and prizes to tax time in 2016.”
Some 6,000 people saved more than $5 million through Save Your Refund so far.
More than half of all Americans have no savings to help them cope with even small emergencies. Yet more than 100 million taxpayers get refunds from the IRS each year.
“Our partners across the country hear every day from people who know they need to save and think they have no way to even get started,” said Nancy Register, America Saves Director. “We’re pleased to work with D2D this coming tax season to show people it’s easy to start saving. The best time for many to start saving is at tax refund time, and a great way for people to take that financial action is with the potential for a prize.”
The winner of the 2015 grand prize was living with her family of five in a single motel room when volunteer tax preparers in Lakeland, FL, told her about Save Your Refund. Mary Bunch said the possible prize motivated her, and the volunteers and the Save Your Refund program enabled her, to start a new habit of savings.
“It’s not about the amount of money that you save or that you have in the bank,” Bunch said. “It’s just knowing that it’s there. There used to be such a pressure on my chest. Saving gives me back my quality of life.”
For information on how to save and enter Save Your Refund contests or to support Save Your Refund efforts across the United States, visit www.saveyourrefund.com. More about America Saves and its mission to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth is available at www.americasaves.org.
The Center for Smart Financial Choices (CFSFC) announced its 2015 scholarship winners. A total of $6,000 in three categories was awarded to the following recipients:
Tyriq Evans, an East Forsyth High School senior, won a $2,000 youth scholarship for a student planning on or attending college in 2015-2016. Evans will attend UNC Charlotte.
Sherry Richmond, a Forsyth County resident, was awarded the $2,000 scholarship for any adult looking to further their education by attending college in 2015-2016. Richmond will complete her education at Salem College.
Saul Armengol, a student at Early College of Forsyth County, received the $2,000 scholarship for any Hispanic/Latino youth planning on or attending college in 2015-2016. He will attend Forsyth Tech.
“Even though I may have financial plans for college, it is useless without the skills to carry them out,” said scholarship winner Tyriq Evans in his essay. “During my second class with CFSFC, I learned that money habit-attitudes or “Habitudes® affect the financial decisions people make. However, if I can put my habitude to work (my dominant habitude being planning), I can enjoy myself and still be financially successful.”
“Many young people work very hard to get into college,” said Betty Ann Falkner, CFSFC director “With what they have learned through the classes, the chances are greater that they will graduate with a minimum amount of student debt leading to a smart financial start to their adult lives.”
Sherry Richmond, a full-time college student working two jobs said, “from my experience at Salem, I have learned to constantly push myself to reach my goals and being awarded this scholarship will continue to help me do so.”
The award required a financial education component in which potential winners attended financial education classes to assist them with planning for college and beyond.
The Center recently announced a scholarship fundraising challenge to raise $6,000 in order to increase the 2016 scholarship offerings. The next cycle of the Scholarship program opens in February 2016.
Donations are accepted at www.cfsfc.org/donate.
One of the requirements in competing for the 2015 Johnston Financial Education scholarship was for applicants to attend two financial education classes. This year, thirty-three individuals applied for one of three scholarships. Twenty-nine individuals, six (6) adults; nine (9) Hispanic/Latinos; and fifteen (15) youth completed all requirements.
Many of the applicants faced obstacles in attempting to go to college or paying to finish their schooling. Several faced legal barriers to financial aid and almost all of the applicants work part-time or at multiple jobs to finance their education. Yet this is a goal for all of them as they echo what Paula said ‘Going to college is just the door step to where I see myself in the future. College will prepare me with knowledge, experiences, and skills … I believe I know what comes first in my life, and college is definitely one of them’.
The first class, ‘Going to College-Counting the Cost’ revealed the true cost of college and tips that all individuals can use to reduce their reliance on student loans. This class was featured on Time Warner Cable Channel 14 Money Matters in April. http://www.twcnews.com/stories/2015/04/28/m/money-matters-paying-for-college.html
Two other classes, ‘Finding Money for Free’ and ‘Money Habitudes®’ gave applicants ideas on how to keep better track of their money and helped them developed a better understanding of their habits and attitudes around money. All the participants gained a solid financial foundation to guide them as they move forward in life.
Jessica said, ‘to help avoid unnecessary debt … I am going to make a plan to see what I spend my money on. After that I will begin writing down if I NEED the item or if I WANT it. Being that I am a spontaneous shopper, (thank you money habitudes!) I think coming up with this plan will help me cut down on all the things I don’t need to buy right at the moment.’
Greicy shared the confidence she and the other students will need in facing their future when she said, ‘I am confident that I can exhibit the restraint and the discipline required to commit to my budget and avoid falling into unnecessary debt in college. These positive habits will not only alleviate financial matters, but will also help me build the confidence and character necessary to become a fiscally responsible and independent adult.’
Miah summed up their learning experience when she stated, ‘College is a time to learn, discover, find myself and create new paths. One thing I will work to not discover, find or create is unnecessary debt because I want total control in my choices, life and future…I am thankful for learning that from classes at the Center for Smart Financial Choices.’
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF YOU & MAY YOUR FUTURE BE EVERYTHING YOU BELIEVE IT CAN BE!
In keeping with its mission to help individuals achieve financial wellness through all stages of life, The Center for Smart Financial Choices (CFSFC) announced its second scholarship opportunities for currentor rising youth and adult college students that include a financial education component. A total of $6,000 is available through the Johnston Financial Education Scholarship program for the 2015-2016 school years.
The scholarships offered include:
- $2,000 for any youth (17-21) planning on or attending college
- $2,000 scholarship for any adult (22-75) pursuing a technical or vocational education, an associate’s degree, or a first bachelor’s degree
- $2,000 scholarship for any Hispanic/Latino youth (17-21) planning on attending college
To be eligible for consideration of any of these scholarship opportunities, applicants are required to become a member of the Center for Smart Financial Choices and be enrolled or accepted as a full-time student in an accredited college or university. Applicants are also required to attend two financial education classes before April 17, 2015.
“Everyone who applies and goes through the program comes out with the knowledge of how to make good financial choices as they enter college or complete their degrees,” said Betty Ann Falkner, director, Center for Smart Financial Choices. “We want them to start out on the right foot, get out and stay out of debt before and after college and always know that the Center is here as a resource all along the way.”
Scholarship applicants will be evaluated by the Center’s selection committee based on demonstrated academic ability with a minimum unweighted GPA of 3.0 and demonstrated writing ability. Youth applicants must submit a 500 word essay titled ‘How I plan to go to college without creating unnecessary debt’ and adults’ essay focuses on ‘What going to college will mean for my future.’
Deadline for the scholarship application, along with membership fee of $15 to the Center, is Friday, March 6, 2015. Supplemental information (essay, transcripts, acceptance letter) is due by April 17, 2015.
The goal of the Center for Smart Financial Choices for 2014 was to raise awareness of their programs and services to Forsyth County residents. We would like to share the progress that was made this year and the impact it had on participants.
The Center delivered thirty-four presentations to over 1,121 youth in local elementary, high school and summer programs in 2014. The most popular program ‘Adult for A Day (#AFAD)’ helps high school students explore the importance of making smart financial choices in managing a budget while learning how credit scores affect their expenses. Over one hundred Vienna Dozier Elementary fifth grade students participated in the elementary version of AFAD to learn how a budget works.
Comments from teen students on #AFAD
“The Center for Smart Financial Choices program taught me a lot about the money saving decisions that our parents and other adults have to make every day. It also showed me that a lot of the decisions that have to be made are not easy. I learned that what type of insurance, the cost of utilities, clothes, and your home is very important. I also learned about all the responsibilities that adults have to have to be successful. This program will help me become a better adult and be more aware of my responsibilities” –Cameron
“I participated in the “Adult for a day” program at my school. It was very beneficial in teaching me the many expenses that come with being an adult. It made me start to think about what I should do to prepare myself, like watching what I spend and how I save. This program was very encouraging and I would recommend it to anyone” –Avery
Comments from elementary students on #AFAD
“Thank you for helping and teaching me all about how to grow up and become a responsible adult with money. Also, I loved the presentation and stations I went to. In my family I have some relatives who aren’t really good with money, so I’ll go home and teach them all about what you taught me” – Andrew (5th Grader)
“Thank you for coming to Vienna to teach us how to manage our money. I now know why my parents won’t buy me some stuff I want. I appreciate all that my parents do now I also now realize how hard it is to handle money” –Hallie (5th Grader)
The Center worked with many non-profits groups this year, including Goodwill, Circles of Winston Salem, Relatives as Professional Parents (RAPP), Sunnyside Ministries, Project 360 and the Enterprise Center. Forty-four workshops were held with over 520 individuals reached.
‘Only Way to Go’
The Center completed a series of workshops titled ‘Only Way to Go’ at the Prosperity Center North, which served over eighty individuals. The program successfully combined work readiness, financial education, empowerment and motivation skills for the participants.
“This course showed me there were lots of places I needed to improve. I thought I had it together until I found out how many spending leaks I had. I found I was wasting money eating out even though I love to cook. At the time I took the ‘Only Way to Go’ program, I was homeless, a situation I had never been in before. I found a job during the time I was taking the course, as a Certified Nursing Assistant and I am still employed seven months later. I also recently moved into my own new apartment.
I would recommend this course to others because they don’t realize how much it would help them if they would only pay attention and participate.” –Nancy
The Center depends on its volunteers to assist in delivering its programs. Volunteers logged over 1,500 hours supporting the Center in 2014. Currently, the Center has over forty volunteers and more are needed to work with school children and teens during the day.
Ways to Support the Center for Smart Financial Choices
Join the Center as a member– your membership helps support our programs. And you receive one free financial consultation when you join! Annual membership fee of: $15 for senior citizens, $20 for individuals or $30 for the entire family. http://www.cfsfc.org/membership/
Donate- The Center provides its programs free to all youth in their schools, at churches and in the community.
Your donation of $25=provides snacks for 30 teens; $50=funds incentives; $100= provides educational materials for a class
Or donate $10-$1,000 to fund the Johnston Financial Education 2015 Scholarship. http://www.cfsfc.org/donate/
Volunteer- When we help others by volunteering our time and we see their appreciative response we feel better about ourselves. http://www.cfsfc.org/volunteer/